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Twitch explains how suspensions over conduct are handled after Ninja incident
It’s a case-by-case basis
By Julia Alexander on March 30, 2018 11:15 am
Blevins later apologized on Twitter, saying he didn’t want to offend anyone and chalking it up to a giant misunderstanding. Unlike other streamers and YouTubers who have been called out for using racist language during a stream, Blevins wasn’t using it against a player or referring to anything specific in his Fortnite match.
Blevins was rapping along to “44 More,” a popular song by Logic, but even that proved to be an uneasy answer for people. “44 More” doesn’t include the word Blevins used. He explained, “I wasn’t even trying to say the word—I fumbled lyrics and got tongue tied in the worst possible way.”
Questions have now turned to what type of behavior can lead to a suspension or ban on Twitch, and whether Blevins will face action himself. Other popular streamers, like Steven “Destiny” Bonnell and WehSing “SingSing” Yuen, have faced retaliation over the use of the word. Then again, other streamers who have let the word slip, have it played in a song they’re playing on stream or even see it flashing by in their chat haven’t gotten suspended.
It can be confusing, and Twitch’s own community guidelines aren’t very helpful in discerning the correct answer. Asked for clarification, a Twitch representative told Polygon that this is the best way to understand when a streamer might face punishment for using of an offensive or derogatory term: “When reviewing reported content or activity, we will consider its intent and context.”
“WE WILL CONSIDER ITS INTENT AND CONTEXT”
The use of a racist or derogatory term falls under the hateful conduct and speech section of Twitch’s community guidelines — a subsection that was recently updated to ensure that community members understood Twitch was taking a more strict stance on hate speech and harassment. The company defines hateful conduct as “any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics,” and notes that using terminology that falls under any of the characteristics is strictly prohibited.
The first one listed is “race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
The guidelines also state, however, that Twitch’s team will “consider a number of factors to determine the intent and context of any reported hateful conduct” to ensure that suspensions and bans are properly handled. This allows for certain terms to be used on stream in certain context without streamers facing a suspension.
The best example of this is lyrics. If someone is rapping along to a song and drops the term, Twitch’s moderation team will take that into context. That doesn’t necessarily rule out the chances of Twitch taking action, though, and people are asking for Twitch to make the rules clearer. Essentially, Twitch’s code of conduct boils down to a case-by-case basis. The company doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all rule for holding streamers accountable for the language they use on their streams.
Blevins acknowledged in his apology on Twitter that using the word, even in music, is wrong. He asked his fans to forgive him, and promised to do better.
“The best way I can explain it is that I promise that I understand how much pain that word causes, even if it gets used a lot in music and elsewhere,” Blevins said. “It’s a word historically used to divide people, and I’m about bringing people together.”
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If he’s "accidentally" blurting out THAT word when he screws up, that says something larger about the way he thinks, imo. I screw up CONSTANTLY and have never once blurted out that word. So that’s really an awful excuse.
I’m not saying he should be banned or anything, but he’s probably got some issues.
Also, for someone who’s supposedly raking in hundreds of thousands every month, can he decorate his room just a little bit?
I think there’s an important difference between getting killed in the game and saying it in frustration or calling someone that, and what he did which is say it while (trying) to rap.
There’s a clear difference in intent, even if it’s not a good idea in either case. I really don’t think it speaks to how he thinks, given how he acts generally.
"Also, for someone who’s supposedly raking in hundreds of thousands every month, can he decorate his room just a little bit?"
This. Please. Add some flair, man.
I think there’s an important difference between getting killed in the game and saying it in frustration or calling someone that, and what he did which is say it while (trying) to rap.
I would get behind that defense IF it was actually in the song he was rapping, but he added it to a song that didn’t have it in the first place.
even if it was in the song it’s not okay, but there’s some room for mistakes. adding it to a song where it doesn’t exist is inexcusable.
Surely you understand how a lyrical mistake could be made here. It’s not like the genre is devoid of the word. Ok, it’s been brought to his attention and made clear some people aren’t cool with it. I really don’t think there’s cause to rake him over the coals for this.
I absolutely agree that it was a mistake on his part and I’m sure he is genuine in his apology, but we’re in the time where these guys are role models to millions of children. letting him off with just a simple apology is sending a message to them as well.
It may not be fair to punish him, but we have to be clear in our messaging to all the people that see him as a good role model.
I don’t think he needs to be made the social pariah to make a point that the word isn’t a good one. PewDiePie said the word in actual anger, directed at a person, and he was rightfully taken to task over it. He had also done other egregious things in the past that pointed to him having a flawed belief system. That’s a case where it was clearly wrong, he absolutely should have been punished, and he was.
I don’t think any of that applies to Ninja. Malicious intent is extremely important when deciding the severity of consequence, and I just don’t see it here.
I don’t think any of that applies to Ninja. Malicious intent is extremely important when deciding the severity of consequence,
I absolutely agree, but just because someone else has done worse doesn’t mean he should get away free. I don’t think he should have everything taken away, but there should still be consequences. Maybe just a 1 or 2 week suspension just to show that it’s not okay.
If you kill someone on accident you still have consequences. Malicious intent isn’t necessary in doing something wrong.
"Malicious intent isn’t necessary in doing something wrong."
Totally. That means we’re just disagreeing on the severity of punishment. I personally think the fact that several articles came up and called him out made this clear enough for the circumstances.
If he does it again, take further action. I think suspensions in that case could be warranted. The guy has a crystal clear background from my knowledge. This was his first social slipup, I think a warning is an acceptable response.
I’m with nos.is.lame – if it were lyrics in the song it would be one thing, to add them to the song on your very own is something entirely different. That’s not a mistake you make unless it’s already ingrained in how you think. Doesn’t matter what genre of music it is.
I’m not saying he needs to be raked over any coals, though. But he should know that not everyone’s buying his excuse. And, really, trying to explain himself didn’t help matters. Just say you screwed up and won’t do it again.
Yeah, in my eyes the whole "it was a misunderstanding" excuse hurt him more than saying the word itself. Admit you fucked up and accept the backlash. Don’t try to explain it away.
If it’s in a song it’s 100% okay. No question there. Don’t add words you don’t want said to something people will obviously sing along to. This is not one of those cases, this was just stupid and he should face some consequence.
Ninja uses stereotypical epithets all the time. When he plays "Duos" with KingRichard, he calls him "Boy" a lot. KingRichard is a black man. Ninja does not call any other teammates "Boy". Racist? idk. Brain patterns are learned from the environments we grow up in.
WW2 and Vietnam War soldiers were taught "gook", "chinq", "kraut", "jerry" to create rage and survival techniques to kill and stay alive. Word and thought association. Were they racist soldiers? Most of them were not.
Ninja plays with accents from all over the world. Racist? No.
Everything is open to comedy. Ninja just flows. He is not hateful. He is just reacting to electrochemical processes on the fly. He expresses all emotions, often times diva-esque, however, he is not hateful.
"N-word" is just an electrical signal the mouth makes. Context determines the intention. Life is 90% intention & 10% technique.
Ninja is a performer and his intention is to play video games, make money, have a laugh and provide for his family. Create joy. Anyone that sees his stream knows this.
Humans have a tendency to overthink it. Twitch is just covering its butt.
It’s okay guys, his best friend is black.
Seriously though, I can’t bring myself to be offended over this. I can only assume his affiliation with Drake spurred an interest in rapping for him. So he attempts to do so on stream, and for the briefest instant, forgot that this one word is off limits.
I have an interest in rap too. I’ve been listening to rap and rapping along with it since I was in middle school. not once have I ever "fumbled" or forgot that a racial slur is off limits.
That’s not an excuse. not even close.
Christian rap doesn’t count.
wow. aren’t you edgy and clever
Saw a cheap shot, took it. Sorry.
I respect what you’re saying, but I’m not that fussed by this one. It’s certainly a ways removed from that pewdiepie dipshit who got killed in some game and straight up shouted it at his opponent. That’s racism on the brain, this is a slip of the tongue.
It’s not ‘off limits’. Some people just feel guilty about it. I think if the lyric is in the song, then you should be able to sing the entire lyric if you want to.
If you don’t support that lyric, then you probably shouldn’t be singing the song at all.
It bothers me when people are offended by one person singing a lyric but completely fine with another person singing the same lyric. It’s either offensive or it’s not.
the person saying it can make all the difference in the world.
Think of it this way: if you’re with a group of friends and you’re all making fun of each other you all laugh and have a great time. If you’re in a group without your friends and they all start making fun of you then suddenly you’re not having a great time.
a very basic comparison without centuries of intolerance, murder, and hate behind it.
So basically Twitch has the same rules as Youtube "We will ban or suspend anyone that does this…unless of course they’re currently brining in hundreds of thousands viewers"
Hell to the yeah. I’m reminded of this interview with Dick Gregory.
Its like; these are just entertainers, no one is going to remember them 50 years from now, and they are not the ones to fight for the right thing.
Why are people saying this is racism? Is there that fundamental of a misunderstanding? A white person saying the "n" word isn’t a racist situation unless the intent was to be malicious.
Racism is when you use racial epithets in a hateful manner, derogatorily. A racist is someone that sees another skin color as inferior without knowing anything else about that person.
What isn’t racist is a white person mistaking the next lyric in a rap song with the "n" word in a genre of music that is known for using that word pretty liberally. If you have an issue with this, you simply have an issue with the genre all together. As you wrote:
The company defines hateful conduct as "any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics," and notes that using terminology that falls under any of the characteristics is strictly prohibited.
You know the old saying: intent is 9/10ths of the law. If Ninja’s intent wasn’t out of hate, then there is nothing to see here. Considering he wasn’t talking directly to anyone – he was just singing a song – I’d say that it’s pretty likely that his intent wasn’t malicious.
"Intent is 9/10ths of the law" is not the old saying, it’s "possession is 9/10ths of the law".
In fact, "ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law" is actually a saying… in other words, your intent matters VERY LITTLE to the law. If you get arrested wearing a jacket that someone else stuck their weed in, you’re still going to jail for that weed. Your "intent" to sell or smoke or ignore it doesn’t really matter, except a little bit when it comes to sentencing, sometimes.
"your intent matters VERY LITTLE to the law"
Speaking from the US at least, this is very much not the case. There’s a reason why we define multiple degrees of murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide, etc. They have different levels of intent, and therefore carry different punishments.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Opinion: It’s 2050, and West Hollywood Is Green and Grown-Up
Part utopia, part reality, West Hollywood in 2050 is an example of the vitality and vision needed to go boldly into the next half of the 21st century.
Legal adaptations have been made to land use. So today we have Residential Improvement Districts (RIDs) that are made up of like-minded residents who have pooled their resources to rebuild certain areas of both the Westside and Eastside. On the smaller streets that contain the older, single-family houses those houses were removed and replaced by one- and two-story town houses, often with an additional house or two on each side of the block.
The houses have been constructed to Zero Net Energy standards and the latest green building requirements. All are connected to a grey water system and all have supplemental solar systems and are tied to a solar grid elsewhere, with battery or generator backups available.
Streets have been abolished. Today alleys at the rear of buildings are used for deliveries. Because the only vehicles now allowed in the city are small electric carts, often community-owned, the space once occupied by streets has been converted to gardens for fruit and vegetables or into open spaces for recreational use by a block’s residents. This is how homeowners live in 2050.
As was the case 30 years ago, the bulk of WeHo’s population is made up of renters. With the abolition of combustion engines in vehicles, and the requirement for community-owned electric carts, many parking lots and even a few parking garages now house affordable living places. Commercial streets sport four- and six-story mixed use buildings. The ground floors contain many of the small specialty shops that provide everyday items within walking distance. Upper floors of those buildings contain affordable apartments. The city has used its grant process to erect many of these buildings.
Some local hotels have banded together to build subsidized living spaces for their employees, who now live closer to where they work. Commercial entities need a stable workforce, so other businesses with large work forces have made similar arrangements. These changes have increased the city’s population – and made it into the “walkable city” we envisioned when cityhood was being touted in the early 1980s. Today, West Hollywood is a more cosmopolitan city where busboys rub shoulders on the streets with interior designers, artists, business execs and retired folks. A real city.
Thankfully, well before 2050 METRO had pulled its head out of the tunnels and finally wove a web of above-ground trolley and bus routes. Anyone now has access to reasonably price transit, which includes many more stops to connect all parts of Los Angeles county. Harking to the past, all but some long suburban l routes are the realm of electric vehicles. Noise and dirt have been greatly reduced, and people are healthier as a result.
Some of the routes are completely automatic. A user buys a ticket to a certain destination, and the ticket, with its coded information, informs the vehicle’s computer as to where the rider wants to get off. Doors open and close on demand only at those stops . Of course, a central computer -with operators attached – monitors the whole business. The city has maintained its own shuttles because, visitors to this resort destination want to decide their destinations. Free use bikes are also available. But caution: they become disabled if a user tries to roll over the city’s boundaries.
WeHo continues to be a high-end shoppers destination with all the well-known designer labels and shops along Melrose Avenue and Robertson, La Cienega and Santa Monica boulevards. There is no one “restaurant row” but several that add to the city’s attraction for tourists.
The owners of a fair number of the city’s commercial buildings have affixed signs to their building – city-approved signage, of course – that proudly calls them out. In other words, if the building is known as the Verizon Building, then Verizon built it and rents the space to other commercial units. Very old-fashioned, I know, but that has been another way to get good buildings onto the city’s commercial streets.
Someone from 2018 probably would scratch his head when he looks at the city’s demographics this year. In 2050, the large LGBTQ population has not diminished at all. Still about 35% of WeHo’ans enjoy the city for its inclusion of that group. However, with the greater choice of living places in West Hollywood, there is no one area that lays claim to the LGBTQ group. Boystown still exists in all its vibrancy and color, and the annual John Duran Prize for the best costume during the Pride Parade is much sought after.
There also are now several recognized forms of “family.” The once uncommon sight of two men or two women walking with an infant in a pram or corralling a rambunctious toddler is an everyday event. Family firms have brought a different flavor to the city and increased the number of children here. The city now has its own school system and, though small, it is a model for other cities. Two-year-old children now celebrate a rite of passage by successfully ascending the full length of the Heilman Steps in West Hollywood Park to the swimming pools above.
Because there still are so many single men and women, the median age remains about 36, and men still outnumber women in West Hollywood. The senior population has always been a mainstay of the city. Now there are senior living quarters for all — especially older gay men and women who tend to be alone in the world. They no longer have to move away to find a place they can afford.
To sum up: the city remains more vital and attractive because of its cultural diversity.
Crime is only a sometime thing now that neighbors know one another better and a strong Neighborhood Watch program exists. The desire to help one another in times of great stress has enabled the CERT program to expand into every block and every residential building. No longer will residents wonder what will happen to them if they find themselves in dire physical need because of a fire, an earthquake. Neighbors helping neighbors. The city still contracts with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, whose deputies now patrol on bikes and in foot patrols. Crime is still with us but far less than in 2018.
Change is inevitable, but it must be managed, and it is those now in city government who initiated the principal changes and have monitored them and responded to the residents. So much has been changed in the city and in the daily lives of its residents that city planners and code writers have been seen wearing sackcloth and ashes and entering convents and monasteries to atone for their past sins and pray for enlightenment.
And by the way, voters now engage in municipal elections — with more than 65% of those registered casting votes.
After decades of stumbling through its childhood and teenage years, the City of West Hollywood in 2050 is 66 years old. It has finally grown up.
About Carleton Cronin
Carleton Cronin and his wife, Toby Ann, have lived in West Hollywood since 1974. They have raised four sons here, and Cronin has long been an astute observer of civic life.
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Enjoyable fun read by a very special author! Hope to take the trolley to Manny’s Christmas party!
This reminds of the city of the future predictions from the two New York World’s Fairs. Very little of the utopian look at the decades ahead came true. I fear in West Hollywood if the trend continues of having a city council with a 3-2 majority that never sees a development proposal it doesn’t like, we will wind up with an overbuilt, overly congested city with nothing but shuttles to haul people to mass transit lines that won’t be extended to West Hollywood by 2050, the year I will turn 100. I wish I could predict that I’ll live to see what actually happens.
32 years from now I expect the City will look much as it does now. Certainly there will have been more development, both needed and unnecessary, but the basic bones of West Hollywood will likely be as they are now. Having lived in the City for 23 years, I’ve seen a lot of change but not nearly as dramatic as one might assume. Many of the ideas put forth here are highly idealistic and while it’s good to dream, it’s also good not to let your imagination run away with you. Private vehicles will never go away as a form of transportation. It’s in the American DNA. Before automobiles it was horse and buggy but the idea was the same. Freedom to travel without dependance on others and in your own time frame. Many of the rail projects now on the books won’t be finished until nearly 2050 anyway. Adding more light rail will cost many billions more. Only so much money is available for such things. It’s only 32 years from now after all and change moves at a slower pace than we might think…
I hope for a future without a Verizon building.
“Now (in 2050) there are senior living quarters for all — especially older gay men and women who tend to be alone in the world. They no longer have to move away to find a place they can afford”……….Wouldn’t that be nice.
Thanks for the interesting read Carl!
The idea is somewhat a future reality. New innovation, technology, transportation modes… It will be a new city driven by forces of the market and need of future population(s).
However, if your trying to place fear in the resident’s of West Hollywood today; the rendering is over-the-top and ugly.
Whatever is to be. Creative, progressive and innovative that is aesthetically pleasing through Land Use, Parks that are open and green, Affordable Housing for that is equivalent to todays approaches and new, yet to be envisioned affordable housing.
I hope people don’t assume the above rendering is the future. Creative and Progressive design in all area’s will prevail for West Hollywood. What that will look like is to be.
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Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller is out of prison, and earlier than expected, as evinced by this tweet.
In May, Miller was sentenced to a year and a day behind bars in a federal prison after she was convicted of bankruptcy fraud and illegally bringing money inside U.S. borders. Miller, who began serving her sentence at California’s Victorville Federal Correctional Institution this July, was transferred on Tuesday to the Residential Reentry Center in Long Beach (Peopleconfirmed the news).
According to TMZ, Miller is scheduled for release from the halfway house on May 25.
What do you get when you cross Carl’s Jr.with Steven Spielberg? Some kind of cheesy, over-processed gossip item—I don’t really need to know more, but I’ll bite.
On Sunday, Carl’s Jr. tweeted this out, because Spielberg’s Ready Player One is being released this week.
Spielberg called the burger “pretty good,” but refused to lend it his name recognition.
End of item.
It’s Tuesday night, time to flow.
Let’s take a moment to acquaint ourselves with what Jared Leto has been wearing on his body lately. [Page Six]Ed Norton’s production company is being sued over a deadly fire that broke out in a Harlem building that was used for filming Motherless Brooklyn. [Deadline]
It’s been reported that Tom Arnold said Roseanne Barr forbid him from dating Laurie Metcalf. [Page Six]Was Julia Kristeva a Bulgarian spy? Following. [Balkan Insight]This fails as gossip, but succeeds at surpassing my expectations. [Vulture]What up, Chegret LLC. [The Cut]
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Utah’s ‘free-range parenting’ law said to be first in the nation
By Meagan Flynn
March 28, 2018 at 4:32 AM
Utah became the first state in the U.S. to pass a “free-range” parenting law. Here’s what you should know. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)
It all started when Lenore Skenazy let her 9-year-old ride the subway home alone. She gave him a map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill and — just in case — some quarters for a pay phone call. Then she left him in the handbag section in New York’s original Bloomingdale’s. It was all his idea. He had begged Skenazy to just leave him somewhere and let him find his way back all by himself, until finally, on a spring day in 2008, she let him do it.
“I trusted him to figure out that he should take the Lexington Avenue subway down, and the 34th Street crosstown bus home,” she wrote in her 2008 column for the New York Sun, the one that ended up starting a movement. “If he couldn’t do that, I trusted him to ask a stranger. And then I even trusted that stranger not to think, ‘Gee, I was about to catch my train home, but now I think I’ll abduct this adorable child instead.’
“Long story short: My son got home, ecstatic with independence.”
Within days, Skenazy’s story went viral, as parents across the country wondered whether she was “America’s Worst Mom” or just one who valued her kid’s independence. Within a year, she wrote a book. She coined a new term. She called her parenting style “free-range,” allowing her son to do various activities without stifling supervision.
And now it’s the basis of a new law in Utah.
Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) signed the “free-range parenting” bill into law earlier this month after it passed unanimously in both chambers of Utah’s legislature. It’s believed to be the first such law in the United States, according to Skenazy.
The measure, sponsored by Utah state Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R), exempts from the definition of child neglect various activities children can do without supervision, permitting “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities …”
Those activities include letting children “walk, run or bike to and from school, travel to commercial or recreational facilities, play outside and remain at home unattended.” The law does not say what the “sufficient age” is.
Under the law, state child-welfare authorities can no longer take children away from their parents if their kids are caught doing those various activities alone, as long as their kids are adequately fed, clothed and cared for.
“As a society, we’ve kind of erred, as our pendulum has swung for children’s safety, a little bit too much to the side of helicopter parenting, right?” Fillmore told Fox 13 earlier this year, while the bill was in committee. “We want kids to be able to learn how to navigate the world so when they’re adults they’re fully prepared to handle things on their own.”
State officials and lawmakers had said that Utah was not in the business anyway of arresting parents for letting their kids walk around the neighborhood alone — but lawmakers were driven to pass the law after hearing of such cases in other states.
The law would conceivably have protected parents like Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, who were charged with child neglect twice in 2015 for letting their kids — ages 10 and 6 — walk home by themselves from a nearby Silver Spring, Md., park. In both cases, police picked the kids up, Child Protective Services was notified and an investigation was quickly opened. In both cases, they were cleared.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv let their children, 10 and six, walk home alone from a park a mile away from their house. Now, Montgomery County is investigating the couple for child neglect. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)
They, too, called themselves “free-range parents,” in interviews with The Washington Post.
“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child,” Danielle Meitiv said at the time, “and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood. I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”
Critics, of course, have argued that the “free-range parenting” style is not safest for children, despite the fact that stranger abduction is rare. A bill similar to the one that passed in Utah was proposed in the Arkansas legislature last year, but died in a House committee, overshadowed by fears of child abduction.
Skenazy, who blogs regularly for Reason magazine, responded with a sharply worded blog post:
“And so Arkansas has preserved the right of its authorities to barge in on families who simply want their kids to have a tiny taste of independence most of us remember from our own childhoods,” she wrote for Reason. “Why give kids freedom — why give parents freedom — when you can take it away so easily and say you’re championing safety in the process?”
Meagan Flynn is a reporter on The Washington Post's Morning Mix team. She was previously a reporter at the Houston Chronicle and, prior to that, the Houston Press, where she covered criminal and social justice issues extensively.
Roseanne revival premieres to massive ratings
POSTED ON MARCH 28, 2018 AT 11:08AM EDT
The revival of Roseanne premiered to massive ratings Tuesday night.
The return delivered an incredible 18.2 million viewers along with an equally impressive 5.1 rating among adults 18-49.
According to ABC, this is the highest-rated comedy telecast on any network in nearly four years (since a premiere episode of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory from 2014).
So, yes, even bigger than NBC’s mega-hit This Is Us during any of its regularly scheduled episodes, where the weepy dramedy usually tops out around a 3.0 adult demo rating (the special This Is Uspost-Super Bowl episode was bigger, but that’s to be expected).
In the adult demo, it also trumps Sunday’s blockbuster 60 Minutes episode which featured an interview with Stormy Daniels.
Also kinda incredible, given how ratings have declined over the years: Roseanne’s return was actually higher among total viewers than its 1997 finale 21 years ago!
The Roseanne premiere audience also grew slightly from its first quarter to its second, which is a good sign.
A couple other data points: This is Tuesday’s highest-rated entertainment telecast in six years among young adults and ABC’s best results in the time slot since 2006.
Also read: Here is an interview with the producers breaking down that premiere.
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MAR. 27, 2018 AT 9:00 AM
Student Loans Are Too Expensive To Forgive
Late last year, graduate students watched as legislators in the House debated giving them a hefty new tax bill: A version of the GOP tax plan proposed to treat tuition waivers as taxable income. Although that plan was later dropped, Congress is once again considering legislation that could affect graduate students’ bottom lines. And the federal government is considering ending some of its student loan forgiveness programs, which could raise the economic barrier to entering certain public service professions and leave social workers, teachers and other people in public-service fields that require graduate degrees paying thousands of dollars more for their education.
President Trump’s Education Departmentand its inspector general, as well as lawmakers and think tanks of all ideological stripes, have raised concerns about the growing cost of the federal government’s student loan programs — specifically its loan forgiveness options for graduate students. Members of both chambers of Congress have said they are committed to passing new higher education legislation this year that will include changes to these programs. 1
The costs of the suite of plans currently offered by the government to lessen the burden of grad school debt has ballooned faster than anticipated, and the federal government stands to lose bundles of money. A new audit from the Department of Education’s inspector general found that between fiscal years 2011 and 2015, the cost of programs that allow student borrowers to repay their federal loans at a rate proportional to their income shot up from $1.4 billion to $11.5 billion. Back in 2007, when many such programs launched, the Congressional Budget Office projected they would cost just $4 billion over the 10 years ending in 2017.
The cost of the loan forgiveness programs exploded, in part, because policymakers did not correctly estimate the number of students who would take advantage of such programs, according to higher education scholar Jason Delisle. Now there’s an emerging consensus that some programs should be reined in, but ideas on how much and in what ways vary by party affiliation. Senate Democrats just introduced a college affordability bill that focuses on creating “debt-free” college plans by giving federal matching funds to states that, in turn, would figure out ways to help students pay for school. In the past, President Barack Obama acknowledged the need to require borrowers to repay more of their debts and made some proposals for modifying the programs’ rules. The GOP goes much further in its suggestions: A new proposal from House Republicans would eliminate some loan-forgiveness programs entirely.
The federal government currently offers several types of loans, with varying repayment terms, one of which can cover up to the full cost of a student’s graduate program. If, after they leave school, a borrower signs up for an income-driven repayment plan, they will pay back their loan at the rate of 10 percent of their discretionary income 2 each year, and the remaining balance will be forgiven after 20 years.
Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, however, a student’s debt can be forgiven after just 10 years. The program was created to ease economic barriers to entering public service, which is definedas work for any federal, state, local or tribal agency, or any tax-exempt nonprofit.3
Right now, a Georgetown Law grad who’s gunning for a job at a U.S. attorney’s office and enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program would expect that the federal student loans she took out to help pay her $180,000 tuition will be forgiven after 10 years. If, like the typical lawyer, she graduates with $140,000 in federal student loan debt and her salary rises from $59,000 to $121,000 a year over her first 10 years on the job, she could have the government wipe out $147,000 in debt — the full remaining principal of her debt plus interest — according to a 2014 study from the think tank New America, which Delisle co-authored.
Or let’s say a second-grade teacher with a master’s degree and $42,000 in federal student loan debt (a typical amount for a first-year teacher after undergraduate and graduate school) earns in the 75th percentile for his age for 10 years. If he dutifully fulfills all the requirements for a federal debt forgiveness program — including completing all of the onerous paperwork — he, for now, stands to have about $33,000 of that debt forgiven, according to the New America report.
But this year the House is poised to consider the PROSPER Act, which would, among other things, reinstate a cap on how much graduate students could borrow (up to $28,500 per year, or $150,000 total) and shrink the number of income-based repayment programs currently available for both grad and undergrad students from five to just one, though a traditional, non-income-based repayment plan will also be available.
Experts say the borrowing cap is unlikely to be a problem for graduate STEM 4 and medical students, since Ph.D.s are often funded by grants and tuition waivers. But graduate students who are enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are far more likely to borrow significant sums. A presentation by the Department of Education revealed that nearly 30 percent of all students enrolled in such programs borrowed more than $100,000, with a median debt over $60,000. If the House plan becomes law, students would likely have to go to the private loan market to finance their education, said Seton Hall University higher education professor Robert Kelchen.
Ending the option of having student loans forgiven also removes a bargaining chip for graduate programs that have a reputation for supporting public service careers, like Georgetown University’s Law Center. Dean of admissions Andy Cornblatt says the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, among others, helps the school attract the best candidates.
“Everyone in legal education is scared to death that some of these federal programs could go down the drain,” Cornblatt says. “Everybody wants to make sure that the ability to attract these kids is not compromised” because of proposals like the PROSPER Act.
So, let’s return to our hypothetical Georgetown Law grad, the would-be attorney who wants to go into public-sector law and is enrolled in the loan forgiveness program. If the PROSPER Act passes, rather than paying 10 percent of her discretionary income for 10 years and having $147,000 in federal student loan debt forgiven, she would have to choose from one of the two repayment plans it allows. That means she’d either pay 15 percent of her discretionary income until she’s paid off as much as she would have under a 10-year plan, with some of the interest potentially forgiven, or she would have to use a standard 10-year repayment plan, also with no loan forgiveness involved.
It’s a bleaker picture for a social worker — who likely needs a master’s in social work to practice and typically starts with an annual income of $24,000, earning $57,000 annually by year 10, according to the New America report. If that social worker is enrolled in one of the currently available income-based repayment programs, all of his remaining federal loan debt (typically $49,000 upon graduation) can be forgiven. Including interest, that would be around $51,000 — more than the original loan — even though he would have repaid about $15,000 over the years. Without loan forgiveness, he’d be looking at many more years of loan payments.
Though Kelchen predicts that if the PROSPER Act passes, some colleges will try to either increase how much financial aid they offer or reduce tuition, he cautions, “I don’t think it will be enough to make up for loss of loan access, particularly in low-paying fields.”
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Daily Horoscope: March 28, 2018
The Moon enters Virgo today.
MAR 27 2018, 9:00PM
The Moon in Leo makes an easy connection with love-and-money planet Venus at 4:33 AM before connecting with Uranus, the planet of surprise, at 5:54 AM. The Moon enters Virgo at 10:30 AM. Venus meets Uranus at 8:46 PM, promising excitement. The Moon connects with Mars at 9:24 PM, bringing a boost in energy tonight.
All Times EST.
It’s an exciting day for you, Aries! You’ll be hard at work once the Moon enters Virgo this morning. This evening, however, Venus will meet Uranus in your sign, putting you in an excited, spontaneous, flirty, and genius mood.
The Moon enters fellow earth sign Virgo today, putting you in a creative and flirtatious mood. Your psychic abilities will be ramped up this evening, too!
The Moon enters Virgo this morning, putting you in a domestic mood; your focus will be on home and family. That said, excitement will arrive in your social life tonight when the Venus meets Uranus.
The Moon enters Virgo this morning, lighting up the communication sector of your chart. An unexpected boost to your popularity will arrive this evening.
The Moon enters materially minded earth sign Virgo this morning, lighting up the financial sector of your chart. Excitement will arrive this evening when Venus meets Uranus, bringing unexpected opportunities your way.
The Moon enters your sign this morning, encouraging you to focus on your emotional needs and to nourish your body. Eat something good, go for a walk, or call a friend. Excitement will be stirred up in your intimate relationships this evening.
The Moon enters Virgo this morning, encouraging you to slow down and catch up on rest. But good luck taking it easy tonight: Your planetary ruler Venus will meet with unpredictable Uranus, bringing exciting surprises.
The Moon enters earth sign Virgo this morning, illuminating the sector of your chart that rules your social life. You’ll find yourself getting a lot of shit done once Venus and Uranus meet this evening, lighting up the sector of your chart that rules routines and rituals.
The Moon enters Virgo this morning, encouraging you to get to work. Venus and Uranus meet in fellow fire sign Aries this evening, bringing unexpected flirtatious energy your way. Fun!
The Moon enters fellow earth sign Virgo this morning, inspiring you try something new. Shake-ups will take place in your home this evening, thanks to the Venus and Uranus meeting in Aries.
It’s time to get honest about your emotions, Aquarius! Don’t be too cool to have feelings. Exciting news will arrive this evening once Venus and Uranus meet in Aries, lighting up the communication sector of you chart.
The Moon enters Virgo this morning, lighting up the relationship sector of your chart and finding you reflecting on the give-and-take in your partnerships. Excitement will get stirred up in the financial sector of your chart, thanks to Venus meeting Uranus in Aries.
What's in the stars for you in March?Read your monthly horoscope here.
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Daily Horoscope: March 24, 2018
It’s a tense day, but it will propel us to make important changes.
MAR 23 2018, 9:00PM
Illustration by Robin Eisenberg
The Moon enters nurturing water sign Cancer at 4:53 AM. It’s a tense day, but it will propel us to make important changes. The Moon squares off with the Sun at 11:35 AM, encouraging us to rethink our direction in life, then it opposes warrior Mars at 11:36 AM. Expect a confrontational energy when the Sun squares off with Mars at 12:08 PM. We’ll all face some emotional blocks when the Moon opposes Saturn at 7:37 PM.
All times EST.
You’ll be in a private mood as the Moon enters Cancer this morning. A tense energy is in the air. Fortunately, you’re feeling majorly ambitious, ready to take on any fight that will help you get to the top.
Your intuition is strong today, since the Moon is entering psychic Water sign Cancer. Stressful energy is in the air, and you won’t feel like you can do much about it. Keep an open mind for best results.
Your attention will turns to your finances once the Moon enters Water sign Cancer early this morning. Drama will also arrive in your social life—you’re ready to cut some ties, Gemini.
The Moon enters your sign this morning, encouraging you to nurture yourself during a very tense day. Aggressive vibes will arrive in your relationships; important endings and changes are taking place.
Take it easy today, Leo: The Moon enters sensitive Water sign Cancer early this morning, encouraging you to catch up on rest and time alone. Expect some stressful energy! It’s an annoying as hell day to do chores.
The Moon enters Cancer early this morning, putting you in a friendly mood; however, a confrontational energy is in the air today. Luckily, the fiery vibe in the air won’t only lead to irritation, but also motivation.
Your focus is on your career and reputation today, as the Moon enters Cancer this morning. Stress in your close relationship will pop up, and a confrontational vibe is in the air—your talent for compromise will definitely come in handy.
The Moon enters fellow Water sign Cancer today, finding you in a philosophical mood. Stress around work or your schedule will come up for you to manage. A quick fix isn’t enough—make a change that will last.
The Moon enters sensitive Water sign Cancer this morning, illuminating the intimacy sector of your chart. You’ll work through issues around self-worth today.
The Moon enters Cancer, your opposite sign, this morning, lighting up the relationship sector of your chart. You’ll work through angry feelings and agitation, especially at home, today.
The Moon enters Water sign Cancer this morning, illuminating the sector of your chart that rules your habits and encouraging you to take care of yourself. Some stressful conversations will take place today.
The Moon enters fellow Water sign Cancer today, sending you supportive vibes as you work through some aggressive energy and emotional blocks, especially in your social life.
What's in the stars for you in March?Read your monthly horoscope here.
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Daily Horoscope: March 28, 2018
Daily Horoscope: March 27, 2018
Weekly Horoscopes, March 26 – April 1, 2018
Daily Horoscope: March 26, 2018
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