Donald Trump will remain an executive producer on the new iteration of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, Mashable has confirmed even after the president-elect takes office.
The show will premiere on Jan. 2 with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Trump as host. The new season will run for eight episodes. According to Variety, who first broke the news of Trump’s continued involvement with the reality competition, Trump’s name will appear in the show’s credits after Apprentice creator Mark Burnett’s, and before Schwarzenegger, who is also an executive producer on the new season.
Trump’s transition spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, has told members of the press that “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett. Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th.”
Hope Hicks: ‘Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett. 1/2
Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) December 8, 2016
Asked about Apprentice royalties, Hope Hicks says Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th 2/2
Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) December 8, 2016
Variety reports that Trump is also a profit participant on the lucrative Apprentice franchise, a format which has been sold around the world in numerous markets, and will continue to be paid for his involvement with the series through production company MGM.
NBC previously announced that they were cutting ties with Trump in June 2015 following controversial statements Trump made during his campaign announcement, in which he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals.
Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump, NBC said in a statement at the time. At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.
NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt reiterated that stance in January 2016 at the bi-annual Television Critics Association winter press tour, when reporters pressed him on NBC’s decision to have Trump host an episode of Saturday Night Live.
“We had a couple businesses that we were doing with him, Apprentice and the [Miss USA and Miss Universe] pageants. We got out of that business, got out of both of those businesses, and that was June, July, when most of us thought he would be sort of waltzing into the background of the political arena,” Greenblatt told reporters. “And lo and behold, hes the front-runner, and the poll numbers are sort of astounding, and hes everywhere. Hes on every news show, every morning show, every nightly show, every cable news show. Hes been on Colbert. Hes been on Fallon. He was on SNL, and I think that reconciles quite easily with were not in business with him, but hes love it or not one of the most important political figures of our time.”
Trump then hit back at NBC in a statement to Mashable, saying the network was “weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct.”
“Thanks to Mark Burnett, we dont have to watch reality shows anymore, we are living in one.”
Burnett has also faced criticism for his ties to Trump; at the 2016 Emmy awards, host Jimmy Kimmel jokingly blamed the reality producer for giving Trump a platform via The Apprentice franchise.
“Thanks to Mark Burnett, we dont have to watch reality shows anymore, we are living in one,” Kimmel said during his monologue. “If Donald Trump gets elected and builds that wall, the first person we are throwing over it is Mark Burnett.”
After tape surfaced of Trump joking about sexually assaulting women during an Access Hollywood segment with Billy Bush, and the Associated Press published a report alleging that Trump made demeaning and misogynistic comments about female cast and crew members on The Apprentice, many called for Burnett and MGM to release tapes that may have further evidenced Trump’s allegedly sexist behavior on set.
In October, Burnett issued a statement that he was unable to release such material even if it did exist, and further tried to distance himself from Trump’s campaign: “Given all of the false media reports, I feel compelled to clarify a few points. I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trumps candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.
Earlier this week, however, Trump met with Burnett and Thomas Barrack Jr. to discuss plans for his inauguration, according to the New York Times:
Despite the modest nature of the events under consideration, Mr. Barrack said Mr. Burnett was actively involved in producing the inauguration week festivities. He will have a large team to work with, as the committees staff in Washington is expected to swell to more than 300 people by Inauguration Day.
Mark is a genius, and the president-elect loves him, Mr. Barrack said. Referring to the Tuesday meeting, he said, This was about throwing stuff out if you are thinking in the frame of mind of what a global audience would see.
For his part, Schwarzenegger former governor of California and a self-proclaimed Republican, announced that he would not vote for Trump or support his candidacy, noting, “As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else American. So I want to take a few moments today to remind my fellow Republicans that it is not only acceptable to choose your country over your party it is your duty.”Continue reading
Most cities and states have accepted they won’t be able to get rid of Airbnb though not for lack of trying. Now that the home-sharing site is here to stay, a few states are at least trying to make some money off of it.
New Jersey is the latest state to try to impose taxes on Airbnb, which is not subject to the same taxes and fees as hotels and motels. In the Garden State, members of the assembly want to extend the 7 percent sales tax and 5 percent transient accommodation fee long in place at hotels to “short-term rentals rented through a transient space marketplace,” aka Airbnb. The summertime legislative push comes during peak vacation rental season for the Jersey shore.
It’s a more realistic approach than that of neighboring New York, which has tried to ban short-term rentals on Airbnb entirely.
Like New Jersey, Massachusetts is trying to tax Airbnb, in this case with a 5.7 percent excise tax. The effort initially had the support of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker until he backtracked to maintain his fiscal-conservative cred.
In Hawaii, an effort to tax Airbnb came to a halt when the governor vetoed it.
As a whole, cities and states are accepting that Airbnb isn’t a fad and are moving toward finding the best way to live with the home-sharing company, rather than eliminate it.
If they can make money from its ubiquity, then even better. Forcing Airbnb to collect taxes on behalf of its hosts is the easiest way to do that.
“At a time when cities are working hard to stretch every dollar, Airbnb can be a valuable partner in strengthening city economies.”
So far, cities rather than states have seen the most success in taxing the company. About 200 cities worldwide have some sort of tax in place that applies to Airbnb.
Airbnb says that it will work with states on their legislative proposals.
“We support efforts that make it easier for our community to pay their fair share of taxes and look forward to working with the legislatures in Massachusetts and New Jersey to make this happen,” Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty said in a statement.
In June, Airbnb announced that it had collected $85 million in taxes from cities since 2014.
“At a time when cities are working hard to stretch every dollar, Airbnb can be a valuable partner in strengthening city economies. Weve worked together with cities around the world to collect and remit hotel, occupancy and tourist taxes on behalf of our hosts and guests,” the company wrote.
Airbnb has also said it would work to modify tax laws to better suit “regular people who share the home in which they live,” as the company puts it, rather than hotels.
And while the company touts its contribution to communities through its tax dollars, those tax dollars came out of contentious relationships.
San Francisco was one of the first cities to impose taxes on Airbnb, and since then the city and the company have sparred publicly over regulations. This June, Airbnb sued San Francisco over an ordinance that would fine hosts not registered with the city.
Chicago is even using the revenue from Airbnb’s taxes for its work on homelessness, a policy aligned with the criticism that Airbnb cuts into cities’ affordable housing.Continue reading
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How To Make A Full Time Income From Blogging In 2017 (A Complete Guide)
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Do you want to make more money, working fewer hours, while never having to go to an office, ever again? Well, guess whatâ¦ not only is it totally doable, it's never been more doable at any other point in the history of humanity. The odds are stacked in …
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The only shot the Cowboys have at moving up to the number one spot in the draft would be to give up one of their best bargaining chips. by DannyPhantom@DannyPhantom24 Feb 21, 2017, 2:00pm CST. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Matthew Emmons-USA …
The celebrated filmmaker discusses the election of Donald Trump, the alt-right, and Trump son-in-law—and key advisor—Jared Kushner’s bizarre apathy towards anti-Semitism. “>
In June of last year, then Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump received his firstand one of his onlyendorsements from a publication. It came courtesy of The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website. The Daily Stormers stated goal, according to founder Andrew Anglin, is to ethnically cleanse White nations of non-Whites and establish an authoritarian government. Many people also believe that the Jews should be exterminated. In the wake of Trumps shock victory, Anglin urged his readers to troll mourning pro-Clinton liberals into committing suicide.
As if that werent enough, Trump also received endorsements from the American Nazi Party, whose chairman felt a Trump victory would present a real opportunity for the white nationalist movement, as well as the Crusader, otherwise known as the official newspaper of the KKK. And over the course of the campaign, both Trump and his eldest son, Donald Jr., shared anti-Semitic memes that originated on neo-Nazi message boards, while Don Jr. and Eric Trump gave interviews to white nationalist-affiliated outlets.
The Trump camps seeming embrace of the white nationalist movement, and their utter refusal to condemn any and all anti-Semitism spread in Trumps name, is particularly puzzling when you consider the fact that Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner, who Trump advisers have called his real campaign manager, is an Orthodox Jew. Its even more baffling when you take into account how Trumps own daughter, Ivanka, converted to Orthodox Judaism to marry him.
Were pretty observant, more than some, less than others, Ivanka toldVogue last year. Its been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but Im also a very traditional person, and I think thats an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.
This conundrum baffles Rob Reiner, the celebrated filmmaker behind the movies This Is Spinal Tap, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, and many more.
I dont understand Jared Kushner at all. What is he doing? Hes turning his back on his religion and his heritage just so he can make money? I dont get it. I just cant wrap my mind around it, Reiner, who is Jewish, tells The Daily Beast.
The whole time while all those anti-Semitic memes were being passed on throughout the campaign, [Trump] certainly must have known, and his sons Eric and Don Jr. must have known they were retweeting things from anti-Semitic websites, he adds. Even if you want to cut them all the slack in the world, they have never to this day said, This is absolutely unacceptable and abhorrent that we are being supported by these groups of people. Theyve never said it! So theyre completely comfortable with the idea that anti-Semitic and racist groups are supporting them.
Reiner, a longtime Democrat, has a strange connection to Team Trump. He is the co-founder of Castle Rock Entertainment, a production company that produced many of Reiners films and developed a number of TV shows. Castle Rock was founded in 1987, and in 1989, they struck a deal with Westinghouse Electric to inject $48 million of equity into the company in exchange for a 15 percent ownership stake. Then, in the early 90s, Ted Turner wanted to buy Castle Rock, so Westinghouse hired the boutique investment bank Bannon & Co. to broker the deal for their cut of the company. In lieu of a fee, Bannon & Co. accepted a portion of Castle Rockincluding profit participation in five shows, one of which was a then struggling sitcom called Seinfeld. When the show sold into syndication, Bannon & Co.including its founder, Steve Bannonhit the jackpot.
Bannon, who is a racist, would later achieve notoriety first as an absolutely terrible documentary filmmaker, then as the chief executive of the alt-right website Breitbart, and finally as Trumps campaign manager turned chief strategistmaking him the Karl Rove of the Trump administration. The KKK and American Nazi party celebrated the news. Reiner felt ill.
If you read the stuff thats posted on Breitbart, its more than a dog whistle to white supremacistsits a dog bullhorn, Reiner says of the racist and sexist site. They print all this crap on there, then Trump takes this idea on and rides it all the way to the presidency.
Reiner had been fairly visible this election season, touting Hillary on the HBO program Real Time with Bill Maher and embarrassing the hosts of MSNBCs Morning Joe for toadying to Trump. The filmmaker is angry with the media for the way they balanced Trumps endless array of transgressions with Hillarys emails.
You look at the media and the way it covered things and think, what is going on here? How are we giving this man whos a pathological liar, a misogynist, a racist, and a fraudhow are we letting him have a free pass and were holding her up to emails like theres some sort of goddamn false equivalency? he exclaims.
And Trumps appearance on Jimmy Fallon was disgraceful. Jimmy Fallon messing up his hair was absolutely disgraceful, adds Reiner. This man is a racist misogynist who should be called out at every turn. Hes not a nice guy. Theres no regular guy here. And if you dont call him out, youre basically giving him a free pass.
Nobody has seemed more stunned by the election results than President-elect Trump, who was so convinced he was going to lose he didnt have any transition plan in place (by comparison, Mitt Romney had hundreds of pages of federal policy transitions written outas well as an entire transition websiteback in 2012). Like many Americans, Reiner isnt sure why Trump fought so hard for a job he doesnt even seem to want.
Trump knows how to promote himself and I think thats done out of a sheer desperation for wanting to be liked, says Reiner. It seems to me like this guys got a big hole in his heart and hes doing whatever he can to try to fill it. I dont think even the presidency is going to do that for him, and I think thats what hes going to discover.
If you have never seen elephants in their natural habitat, you may have wondered what kind of conditions they live in.
In many areas, elephants are put to work to make money for the humans that work with them. They are used in the tourism industry, either giving rides to people or begging for money in the streets.
In Thailand, a group of elephants once lived on the streets and were forced to beg. But they were saved and brought to a sanctuary where they could roam freely.
These elephants had never experienced one of the most basic and simple joys all elephants love: taking a bath.
In this video, you can see the elephants enjoying their very first bath. Some of them are hesitant at first, while others are immediately overjoyed when they get into the water.
If you think this is a sweet story, you will enjoy other videos of the elephants at Elephant Nature Park, like this elephant that rushes into the water when she thinks a man is drowning! You can donate to Save Elephant Foundation here!
Don’t forget to SHARE this adorable elephant with all your friends and family!
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As a creative outlet, blogging can motivate you but probably wont make you money – though it can lead to a book deal.
Cowboys Gain Cap Room By Restructuring Tyron Smith & Travis …
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The Cowboys are getting around to juggling some finances to get under the cap for 2017.
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It’s been a long week, being back to work after the holiday break. It’s a wonder that you’ve even managed it, so, hey: give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it, hero. With all that going on, it’s completely understandable that you’ve let your concentration slip and missed some stuff that’s been going on online. That’s cool. We’ve got your back, champ. If you’re needing to prepare for small talk at some leftover social event and have no idea what’s been going on outside of just making it through another 24 hours for the least seven days, have no fear. Just look below and you’ll find the highlights of the last week on this wonderful virtual prairie we call the World Wide Web.
What Happened: NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice returned this week, with its former star (and still executive producer) now waiting to become President of the United States. What could go wrong?
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s a sign of how strange the new world is that the return of a reality TV show could turn into a moment of political significance. And yet, the new season of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice was just that, because the former star of the show is now the president-elect, and yet unusually will continue to make money from the show while in his new job. It helped that Donald Trump’s replacement happened to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, aka the former governor of California.
At first, the Internet amused itself with the fact that the show was being promoted with a “secret” catchphrase that the Schwarz, as we’ll now call Arnold, would use in place of Donald’s iconic “You’re Fired.”
What should be Arnold Schwarzenegger's catchphrase at the end of each Apprentice episode when he eliminates a contestant?
— Carlos Bolaos (@CarlosVinLeaded) December 30, 2016
If Schwarzenegger's Celebrity Apprentice catchphrase isn't "You're terminated" I will be legitimately upset
— Jaden Moon (@FrogPrinced) December 30, 2016
I can now report that Arnolds catchphrase for Celebrity Apprentice is: "Yippee-ki-yay, monday-to-friday snakes on this plane
— Philip Bump (@pbump) January 3, 2017
Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got "swamped" (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
Once again: this man will be the leader of the free world in a matter of weeks. Also once again: this man is dragging a show that he is still the executive producer of publicly. But, wait, it gets better or, at least, stranger. Because Arnold Schwarzenegger is on Twitter as well, and responded with some subtweeting.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 6, 2017
I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 6, 2017
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 6, 2017
Trump is suppose to receive Intel about Russian hacking today and what is he doing? Tweeting about "The Apprentice" of course. pic.twitter.com/k8YEZsU7h8
— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) January 6, 2017
Donald Trump also publicly trashed Martha Stewart when she hosted her version of The Apprentice. https://t.co/aYH5z7OZ68
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 6, 2017
Trump's tweeting about 'New Celebrity Apprentice' this morning to divert attention away from… pic.twitter.com/dX0rUa9BmE
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) January 6, 2017
The Takeaway: Happy 2017! This is going to be one very, very long, strange, and very not normal year, everyone.
What Happened: What if you didn’t have to turn off your phone when you were at the movies?
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Where to start with this one? Well, let’s go right back to the beginning, which came at the end of last week:
iOS 10.3 to feature a new Theatre mode – will include a new popcorn-shaped Control Center icon.
— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) December 30, 2016
“Theater mode”? That one tweet—and the subsequent discovery that Apple had patented “situationally aware” technology years ago—was enough to spark off a wave of and commentary about what it mean. Twitter, of course, had some feelings on the matter.
My phone already has a theater mode: the power button controls it.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) January 4, 2017
If you take an iPhone with the new "Theater Mode" into theaters, it should use Apple Pay to refund everyone sitting behind you.
— Brock Wilbur (@brockwilbur) January 4, 2017
Is "Theater Mode" where your phone instructs you to STAY THE FUCK HOME IF YOU CANT GO TWO HOURS WITHOUT TEXTING IN A MOVIE? https://t.co/ajEpvbnypW
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) January 4, 2017
if the iphone "theater mode" turns on automatically when u enter a theater and then tases u if u take out your phone i'm all for it
— andy levy (@andylevy) January 4, 2017
The Takeaway: The one question that remains unanswered: Aren’t people who want to use their phones in a theater, movie or otherwise, kind of missing the point of why they’re at the theater?
That's stupid…the "Theater Mode" feature? Just watch the movie. You're paying 20 dollars for a movie. You can put your phone down.
— #JessSoul (@tacolautner) January 6, 2017
What Happened: Having successfully raised her profile over the past couple of years, Fox News siren Megyn Kelly is moving networks—or selling out to the lamestream media, depending on who you’re listening to.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: After months of speculation, the news broke early this week: Megyn Kelly, host of Fox’s The Kelly File, would be leaving the network after all. Quickly, Kelly moved to take control of the story herself:
An ending, and a new beginning… pic.twitter.com/clyKaDpQTW
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 3, 2017
You might have thought that those on the right wing, arguably Fox’s—and therefore, Kelly’s—target audience would be upset about the news anchor leaving them for the mainstream, but that really wasn’t the case if social media was any indicator.
— Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) January 3, 2017
Megyn Kelly represented the lowest form of journalism. Her constant bashing of Trump & supporters will not be forgotten. NBC is a nice fit!
— Adam D. Brown (@aduanebrown) January 3, 2017
Megyn Kelly leaving Fox News is textbook addition through subtraction.
— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) January 3, 2017
Meanwhile, those on the left weren’t exactly thrilled with the shift:
So now we're supposed to pretend that Megyn Kelly doesn't have a longhistory of racially insensitive/inflammatory rhetoric?
— John Iadarola (@johniadarola) January 3, 2017
Rather than finding real journalists, NBC is adding Megyn Kelly. Appears that they are now nothing more than a wing of the Republican Party. pic.twitter.com/qSy8GG7KQb
— Adam B. Bear (@democraticbear) January 3, 2017
I wish Megyn Kelly well on her transition from least racist person on Fox to most racist person on NBC.
— Justin Colucci (@justinmcolucci) January 4, 2017
And let’s not forget what’s really important about Kelly’s new role at the network the fact that it is said to include a daytime show.
— Carolyn Hinsey (@CarolynHinsey) January 3, 2017
The Takeaway: Of course, let’s not let any of this distract us from Megyn Kelly’s actual history of broadcasting.
Megyn Kelly's rebrand has been as cynical and successful as Taylor Swift's and it would be cool if you didn't fall for it like a dumbass
— Charlotte Shane (@CharoShane) January 4, 2017
What Happened: Here’s a publishing secret: When designing a cover based around a famous symbol recognizable by pretty much the entire world, make sure that you’re using the right symbol.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: This one is practically self-explanatory, and based around one simple mistake. One simple, obvious, we can’t believe anyone actually made it, mistake. To wit:
— neontaster (@neontaster) January 5, 2017
Yes, that’s a cover graphic for the Washington Post’s Express about the Women’s March that uses the symbol for the male gender. It originally debuted online via the paper’s Twitter account in a now deleted tweet, which of course led to some helpful people pointing out that maybe things weren’t exactly what the Express team had intended.
I think… I think that's the wrong symbol? https://t.co/CXaywcbzYQ
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 5, 2017
is this some kind of record for largest typo pic.twitter.com/kOZ9UIp0Ig
— Sam Thielman (@samthielman) January 5, 2017
I have def made mistakes when commisioning art for a story before but… y'all… this is a Bad Look https://t.co/45z0PWeFBt
— austin walker (@austin_walker) January 5, 2017
I have no fucking words.
YOU HAD ONE JOB, FRONT PAGE DESIGNER. ONE. JOB. https://t.co/wWM1CBFNeo
— Katie Cunningham (@kcunning) January 5, 2017
Just in: men's rights activists choose @WaPoExpress as their official news outlet following paper's visual exclamation of "WHAT ABT THE MEN"
— Francesca Collins (@franjcollins) January 5, 2017
— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) January 5, 2017
Someone even suspect they know exactly how it happened:
— Lil Thotty (@db) January 5, 2017
For its part, the Express team ‘fessed up on Twitter and apologized:
This is how the cover should have looked. We apologize for the mistake. pic.twitter.com/MKKOkHPV8T
— Express (@WaPoExpress) January 5, 2017
…But then, it couldn’t really do anything else, could it?
The Takeaway: Still, at least that was the most embarrassing typo from a major media organization to make it out this week, right? Oh, wait. Never mind.
What Happened: If the makers of Jude Law’s new TV show intended on coming up with a name that would turn the show into a meme, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: When it comes to imagining unexpected ways to promote your television show, producers of HBO’s The Young Pope accidentally hit the motherlode, by choosing a name that social media just couldn’t stop plugging into its favorite music:
The Young Popes, Darlin' We're The Young Popes
And The Young Popes, Shouldn't Be Ordained
— BRANDONE (@BDOBZEK) January 2, 2017
To the tune of Black Lips "Bad Kids"
All we want is a young pope
Not like those college grad popes
A pope like you and me
— David Grossman (@davidgross_man) January 4, 2017
Cause popes, they want to be you-oung / oh, popes just want to be young
— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) January 5, 2017
Young Pope, here you kneel on the ground,
I said Young Pope, I heard you like to bone down,
— moran (@MeghanSketch) January 5, 2017
*to the tune of mickey mouse club* Y-O-U
you know his name
N-G & P
people love him
O & P & E
— Rollin Bishop (@rollinbishop) January 5, 2017
What made The Young Pope so memetic? No one is quite sure, but there’re many trying to find . Coming soon: AMC launches Baby Rabbi.
The Takeaway: The sad fact is, not every song is ready for the Young Pope. Please, give generously.
i'll give a dollar to anyone who can make a (good!!!) young pope/uptown girl joke
— karen h. (@karenyhan) January 5, 2017
Your shiny new iPad Pro is on the fritz. The touchscreen is cracked and isn’t working properly. You could take it to an affordable local repair shop, but mom and pop may not know how to heat up the glass just enough to separate the LCD from the rest of the device — it’s a complicated process that involves an acute understanding of the tablet’s insides.
Once they’ve cracked open the iPad, they may not even know what to do to replace each component.
Frustrated, you turn to Apple‘s official support system. If you didn’t purchase the company’s AppleCare+ warranty plan when you bought the device, you find that replacing the screen will cost a whopping $599, plus shipping. Or, you could buy an entirely new replacement from an Amazon vendor for $674.88.
What do you do? Well, many would buy the new one and offload the busted thing for a hunk of cash, contributing to a cycle that experts say generates heaps of e-waste. It’s a problem for consumers and the planet — and Apple has actively opposed legislation that could help curb it, according to advocates.
The Huffington Post spoke with politicians in two states who support such legislation, and confirmed through government filings that Apple has lobbied on the issue.
Four states — Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts and New York — have considered adopting “right to repair” amendments, which would update existing laws regarding the sale of electronic equipment. Amending these laws would make it easier to fix your devices and would help reduce “e-waste,” a catch-all term for any electronic detritus.
The New York State Senate and Assembly could approve one of these amendments next week. This would help unofficial repair shops get the information they need to fix your iPad, ideally driving down repair costs and encouraging you to squeeze more life out of your old devices — thus cutting down on the e-waste generated by our voracious appetites for new gadgets.
Apple asserts that it helps recycle millions of pounds of electronics equipment every year. But it won’t support right to repair amendments.
It’s not alone. Many electronics manufacturers resist this change. But when it comes to the sleek design of your personal gadgets — an aesthetic that makes these devices so difficult to repair in the first place — no company is as influential as Apple. The tech giant has done more than any other to create a market saturated with ultra-thin, compact devices. The popularity of the iPhone spawned smartphone imitators, much as the iPad spurred the creation of devices like Microsoft’s Surface. And slim, tightly-packed devices are difficult to dismantle and recycle.
Not for nothing, Apple is also the most profitable company in the entire world.
New York state Sen. Phil Boyle, sponsor of a “right to repair” amendment that could soon go to a vote in his state’s legislature, believes his efforts will save people money and help the environment.
“In essence people are forced to buy new computers, new software and new technology on a regular basis because it’s so expensive to have them repaired at the manufacturer,” Boyle told HuffPost in a recent interview. “The landfills are filling up and they’re a very difficult thing to recycle.”
Right to repair amendments would require device manufacturers like Apple or Microsoft to make repair information and associated software updates available to independent businesses or individuals. Currently they provide this only to select businesses. Essentially, such legislation would free you from needing to mail your busted tablet back to the manufacturer for repairs because a shop down the street would have access to the information needed to fix the device, likely at a reduced cost. (There’s a precedent for this in an automotive right to repair bill passed in Massachusetts in 2014.)
A vote for right to repair measures is also a vote for good recycling practices. If Apple were legally bound to release its schematics, for instance, repair shops and recyclers alike would be able to utilize every piece of a gadget and reuse them in refurbished products.
“The link to recycling is very simple,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association, a coalition of nonprofits and businesses, told HuffPost. “Recyclers need the same information as repair techs in order to easily de-manufacturer products for processing.”
Currently, even if electronic devices avoid the landfill, they’re often recycled via a wasteful, even dangerous process called “shredding.” That process involves pulverizing a device down to its smallest parts and salvaging whatever’s possible. For its part, Apple recognizes this process is awful and recently debuted a PR video about a more efficient, iPhone-dismantling robot called Liam that could help fix the problem. But that technology is still experimental and won’t work with the vast majority of devices on the planet.
Apple spent nearly 10 minutes trumpeting green initiatives, including Liam, at the beginning of a March 2016 keynote event. But it has repeatedly opposed “right to repair” legislation in the United States.
It has certainly come to my attention that Apple is opposed to this bill. Massachusetts Representative Claire D. Cronin, a “right to repair” advocate
Cronin, a co-sponsor of the Massachusetts right to repair amendment, told HuffPost her concern is that manufacturers have too much power. They oppose the legislation because they make money repairing devices.
“Currently, electronics companies are running a repair monopoly. This repair monopoly, and the subsequent lack of competition, leads to higher costs for consumers and businesses,” Cronin said via emailed statement.
“It has certainly come to my attention that Apple is opposed to this bill,” she added.
Reached by HuffPost, Apple repeatedly pointed to its 2016 Environmental Report as a means to underscore its commitments to a greener planet. In that report, Apple says it works with 160 recycling programs around the world and says it holds them to “rigorous standards of environmental compliance, health and safety, and social responsibility.” But it did not elaborate on those standards after HuffPost brought up a recent report from the Basel Action Network, a nonprofit environmental watchdog group, indicating that even some “responsible” recyclers in the United States had gone back on their word and handled e-waste inappropriately.
In other words, we don’t know for certain how Apple makes recycling programs adhere to its standards, and that doesn’t even matter if your iPhone winds up at a recycling program unaffiliated with the company.
Apple also said it does not comment on pending legislation, as these right to repair amendments are. HuffPost pressed further, pointing out that Apple’s lobbying costs are public record and that it seemed odd that a company so committed to going green wouldn’t support legislation that could help reduce e-waste. Apple would not provide an official statement, though a representative said there are no numbers indicating that its products contribute to an e-waste problem.
Part of the resistance to “right to repair” is a suspicion that the amendments could force companies to reveal secrets about how their devices are made. New York’s amendment contains a clause batting down those concerns, stating nothing “shall be construed to require an [original equipment manufacturer] to divulge a trade secret.”
“They give the argument about intellectual property concerns,” Boyle told HuffPost. “To me, it’s not the strongest argument. It’s more about dollars and cents to me. It would cost them a lot of money in repair work.”
Still, trade associations like the Consumer Technology Association — formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Association — have argued that manufacturers’ proprietary information would be at risk if the laws passed.
“For example, the proposal could enable anyone posing as a repair shop to reverse engineer such a device to create counterfeit devices,” the CTA, to which Apple belongs, wrote in an statement of opposition to Minnesota’s right to repair proposal last year. “Further, there are no restrictions that would prevent a recycler from selling these assets to other non-recyclers in or outside of the State of Minnesota.”
The Repair Association isn’t particularly swayed by these arguments.
“Repair is not modification of copyrighted software — it is physical repair of physical problems using physical tools,” Gordon-Byrne told HuffPost in an email.
When companies control how your gadgets are repaired, they stand to profit. For one thing, you might see how expensive it is to replace a damaged smartphone screen or old laptop battery and opt to get a whole new gadget — adding to that e-waste problem. Manufactures can charge a premium for replacement parts and services. They can resell “refurbished” devices at a profit once they’ve been fixed up.
Third-party gadget repair shops must figure out on their own how to fix your malfunctioning device, because consumer electronics companies are not currently obligated to provide this information about their products. That means trial and error when it comes to handling the delicate innards of your gadgets. It also means delays between a product’s launch and when repair guides from commercial services like iFixit are available.
Not that manufacturers don’t fight against these repair shops. In fact, they actively put roadblocks in place to make it as hard as possible to crack open and repair our phones and computers. Apple, for instance, uses proprietary screws in its devices and has even retrofitted them to old iPhones sent in for servicing. Chinese phonemaker Huawei has copied this design and included proprietary screws in its phones that make them harder to repair.
And Apple has punished consumers who use third-party repair shops.
Earlier this year, the company was raked over the coals for turning iPhone 6 devices into “bricks” when it detected users had taken them to be fixed at unauthorized — and often much more affordable — repair shops.
“Error 53” is the now infamous code that popped up for users whose phones were “bricked,” or wiped and made utterly useless. Users who got Error 53 often had their screens fixed or received a similar repair that required messing with the home button on the phone, which had been programmed to synchronize with the rest of the device.
Thousands of users reported the error, some of whom never got their iPhone fixed at a repair shop, licensed or otherwise. The outcry led to a class-action lawsuit, in which attorneys claim Apple rendered iPhones useless for more than a year and blamed users for the error, without so much as a disclosure that unlicensed repair could result in a bricked phone.
Just days after the suit was filed, Apple apologized and instituted a reimbursement program for phones with Error 53.
“This was a message to all consumers that if you don’t conform to Apple’s requirements we’re going to kill your phone,” Darrell Cochran, an attorney representing the lawsuit’s complainants, told HuffPost. “They never disclosed that your phone could be bricked after basic repairs. Apple was going to say nothing about it and force all its consumers to buy new products simply because they went to a repair shop.”
“The only reason they flip-flopped was because of the lawsuit,” he added. “They knew they’d been caught.”
The right to repair amendments aren’t perfect. It may take time for states to adopt them, and only then do they stand a chance at snowballing onto the national stage. And as worded, they are very broad — in New York’s case, enough so to include any “digital electronic equipment.” This allows many companies to unite against them. Verizon — which owns Aol, the parent company of HuffPost — stood against a fair repair amendment in Nebraska just this year, for example.
Matt Mincieli of TechNet, a coalition of electronics companies that Apple belongs to, told HuffPost that the right to repair amendments in New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota are too vague and affect too many industries to be acceptable.
“Our concern is where the line is drawn — this is uncharted territory,” Mincieli said. “In Massachusetts it wasn’t just the tech industry affected, it was your farming equipment, medical device sales, you name it.”
“What we care about is finding a good solution that we can agree on,” he added. “But all these states are looking to do different things. All it takes is one state to enact something and six more states will do it the next year. So if someone sets a precedent we want it to be right.”
Who knows what a perfect precedent will look like? There probably isn’t one. But while we search for it, companies could take a public stand. It’s happened before: Apple announced last year that it would fund a massive clean energy project in China in response to criticisms that its suppliers there were heavy polluters.
Meanwhile, the company says it’s committed to handling e-waste properly, but it won’t respond to criticisms that it opposes legislation directly linked to reducing that waste. Until such a time, you might be forgiven for taking its commitments a bit less seriously.