By David Vandygriff
Walmart is rolling out a new technology in its stores that enables shoppers to scan and pay for their items without checkout lanes, registers, or cashiers.
Here's how it works: shoppers download Walmart's "Scan & Go" app, then scan the barcodes of the items they wish to purchase.
Once they are finished shopping, they click a button to pay for their goods and show their digital receipt to a store greeter on their way out the door.
Amazon revealed plans in December to introduce a similar technology to its own brick-and-mortar grocery concept, called Amazon Go, which is still in the planning phases.
But Walmart is leaping ahead of Amazon and already rolling it out to more than a dozen stores in Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky.
For shoppers without smartphones, the retailer provides hand-held scanners. The stores also have options for customers who don't want to link up a credit card to their Scan & Go accounts.
Those customers can simply click "finish" on the app, then report to a self-checkout register where they will scan a barcode for their total purchase and pay for their goods.
Shoppers in Waxahachie, Texas are among the first to use the new technology.
"It makes shopping easier because you can actually see what your total is before getting up to the register," Mattie Shepherd told The Waxahachie Daily Light. "You can scan, and it'll show your purchases of everything and then what your total is, so you can keep track of what you're spending and I think that's cool."
"It's kind of like 'The Jetsons," another patron told the Daily Light.
This is Walmart's second attempt at Scan & Go technology.
Walmart first launched the technology in stores three years ago, but it never caught on.
By Janet Wilson
Michelle Obama, meet Will Truman and Grace Adler. According to an In Touch Weekly exclusive, the former First Lady is set to make a guest appearance on Will & Grace when it returns this fall to NBC.
An insider shared the news with the magazine, stating: ‘The details are still being worked out, but supposedly Michelle is up for anything, as long as it doesn’t cross the line too much.’
Obama isn’t the first big guest for the show. The original series, which ran from 1998 to 2006, featured the likes of Madonna, Gene Wilder, Bernadette Peters, and many more. However, Obama will be the biggest political name the show has snagged and given her popularity, it’s not unsurprising there are plenty of expectations riding on her appearance.
‘Everyone associated with the show is so excited about landing Michelle,’ the insider further said. ‘They think the episode will be comedy gold and a ratings hit.’ Guest stars often do have the added ability to draw in even more viewers. Given revivals are often risks for networks, this is definitely a boost.
While it’s unknown which episode Obama will appear in, it likely will have a political slant. However, the insider notes Obama ‘will not be taking any personal jabs at President Donald Trump. The writers will leave that to the rest of the cast.’
This is not the first time the series has gotten political since re-entering the zeitgeist. Last September, the four leads reunited for a mini episode about the 2016 election. A couple months later in November, they reunited once more for a Hillary Clinton number.
We’re excited to see Obama on the show, especially since we know how funny and charismatic she can be. Just watch her on Carpool Karaoke or shopping with Ellen DeGeneres if you need a reminder.
By Jake Hearn
Reports from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, examined by Buzzfeed, show there have already been more anti-LGBT hate-motivated homicides this year than in all of 2016.
According to BuzzFeed News reporter Nidhi Prakash, not counting the Pulse nightclub terror attack hate crime murders of 49 people, in 2016 there were 28 hate-violence-related homicides of LGBT people. Already this year, there have been 33 anti-LGBT hate violence murders across the country.
"The numbers translate to roughly one hate-violence-related death every 13 days in 2016. So far in 2017, the pace of those deaths is at about one every six days," Buzzfeed reports.
At this rate, these hate murders are on track to double last year's count.
"Fifteen of those who were killed in 2017 were transgender women of color, and at least 12 were cisgender gay men," Buzzfeed adds. "The reports came from all over the US, from Texas to New York to Wisconsin."
One important question is why.
"I think whether it’s an increase in reporting, an increase in violence, or some combination thereof, it should be a wake-up call for us across our communities that hate violence is not going away," Beverly Tillery, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project told Buzzfeed. The NYC AVP coordinates with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and creates the violence report.
Tillery adds that hate violence is "certainly not decreasing, and it’s symptomatic of larger and deeper problems in our society that we still haven’t addressed."
And while this spike in hate murders is alarming, there likely are more that have not been included. Law enforcement officials may not know, or may choose to not report a victim as being transgender, for example, or may not know the motivation for their murder.
"There are a lot more homicides of LGBT people than what they report," Dallas Drake, senior researcher at the Center for Homicide Research, tells Buzzfeed. "They don't report generally from communities that are smaller or where cases are not easily identifiable as LGBT homicides."
Old Dominion University assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice Vanessa Panfil tells Buzzfeed there's a backlash against LGBT people.
That backlash, she says, has been encouraged in part by the Trump administration walking back Obama-era guidances and policies that were LGBT-inclusive, such as supporting trans students' rights and signaling a ban on allowing trans people to serve in the military. As a result, transgender people across the country are relying on courts to decide if they’re allowed to access bathrooms in line with their gender identities — a decision the Supreme Court decided not to weigh in on when it sent a landmark trans rights case back to a lower court earlier this year.
Pulling back from anti-LGBT homicides and looking at all hate crimes, is there a Trump effect, an unleashing of hate into society, as has been documented repeatedly?
Just look at these headlines:
"Anti-LGBT hate crimes in D.C. up 59% in 2016"
"What We Have Unleashed: This year’s string of brutal hate crimes is intrinsically connected to the rise of Trump."
"A Fifth of Hate Crimes Reported Done in Trump's Name, Researchers Say"
"Donald Trump Has Unleashed a New Wave of Bullying in Schools"
"'Trump effect' led to hate crime surge, report finds"
"Q&A: 'There's a virus in our country': The 'Trump effect' and rise of hate groups, explained"
"The Trump Effect: The Impact of The 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation's Schools"
Kathy Flores, an LGBTQ anti-violence program manager for Wisconsin's Diverse & Resilient says, "The message this sends to LGBTQ folks is clear: that we may not be safe anywhere."
By Jacob Cardin
CNN severed ties with Jeffrey Lord on Thursday, hours after he ignited controversy by tweeting the words "Sieg Heil!" at a prominent liberal activist.
"Nazi salutes are indefensible," a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. "Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network."
Lord was not immediately reachable for comment. Earlier in the day, he defended his tweet by saying he was "mocking a fascist."
Lord, a former Reagan administration staffer, had been one of CNN's best-known commentators. He was the first explicitly pro-Donald Trump commentator to join the network, back in August 2015, two months after Trump entered the GOP primary race. At the time Lord was a counterweight to CNN's other conservative commentators, who were all dismissive of Trump's candidacy.
Other pro-Trump voices joined the network later. CNN now has about a dozen commentators who tend to support the president's views.
But Lord always stood out from the pack -- for his interpretations of history and his intense exchanges with commentators like Van Jones on "Anderson Cooper 360" and other programs.
Lord, a columnist for The American Spectator, has been harshly critical of the activist he tweeted at, Angelo Carusone, and the liberal group of which Carusone is president, Media Matters for America.
Lord and Carusone have had many sharp disagreements. Media Matters has repeatedly condemned Lord and criticized CNN for employing him as a commentator.
Earlier this week the two men got into another entanglement on Twitter, specifically over Media Matters' past financial support from George Soros.
Carusone told Lord that one of his columns was "full of lies" and said "Soros gave us one donation one time...in 2010."
Lord wrote a follow-up column for The American Spectator on Thursday morning, calling Carusone's group the "Media Matters Fascists," casting them as "anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don't like."
Media Matters has been promoting an ad boycott against Fox News host Sean Hannity, a friend of Lord's.
Lord said Carusone was playing a "fascist game" by targeting Hannity's sponsors, and said Media Matters has been doing it for years against other conservatives.
"This is America, Angelo. Not Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany or Communist Russia," he wrote.
Lord tweeted the column at Carusone, who responded, "Your headline has a mistake in it." Carusone asked, "Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don't take yourself seriously."
Lord's response was "Sieg Heil!"
The tweet caused a Twitter storm. There was renewed criticism both of Lord, personally, and of CNN for having him on the payroll.
Carusone tweeted on Thursday afternoon and said "CNN does not seem to hold Jeffrey Lord to any kind of standard."
Under withering criticism from others on social media, Lord did not backtrack from the Nazi reference.
He repeatedly told commenters that he was "mocking Nazis and Fascists."
He asked, "Why would I delete something that mocks the Fascists at Media Matters Fascists?"
Another Trump-supporting conservative commentator, Kayleigh McEnany, recently left CNN under unrelated circumstances.
McEnany asked to be let out of her CNN contract to become the spokeswoman for the RNC.
By David Vandygriff
'Eric Bolling Is Suing Me for Defamation - $50 Million in Damages. I Stand by My Reporting + Will Protect My Sources' Reporter Says
Fox News host Eric Bolling reportedly has initiated a $50 million lawsuit against the freelance reporter whose article apparently led to his suspension from the conservative cable news giant this weekend, according to a report in Politico. Yashar Ali, who has delivered reporting for New York Magazine, Mother Jones, and HuffPost, posted to Twitter that he has been served a summons.
He also noted that Bolling is not suing HuffPost, which published Ali's article. Ali stated on Twitter, “It's important to note that Bolling's summons does not include HuffPost - he is coming after me personally. I'm a big boy...but very telling.”
Ali says he will not stop reporting, “Not going to stop reporting on Eric Bolling or anyone else. I've had family members killed/jailed in Iran, a lawsuit isn't going to scare me.”
Ali confirmed its validity.
Politico's Hadas Gold, who first reported news of the lawsuit after Ali posted his tweets, explains that Ali "reported on Friday that several years ago Bolling sent lewd text messages that included photographs of male genitalia to two female colleagues at Fox. The next day Bolling was suspended and Fox launched an investigation by the same law firm that handled probes into the conduct of former host Bill O'Reilly and former Fox chairman Roger Ailes."
After the initial report, Bolling said, via his lawyer, that he "recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made.”
On Wednesday, Bolling filed a "summons with notice" in New York State Supreme Court against Ali, seeking $50 million in damages for defamation. Ali must respond within 20 days, demanding that Bolling file a complaint, after which Bolling will have 20 days to file his response before the suit goes forward.
Gold notes that "Bolling is represented by Michael Bowe from the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, who was President Donald Trump's personal attorney until last month."
Variety adds that "Ali’s report cited two unnamed women who said they received unsolicited photos of male genitalia from Bolling. Ali also spoke with a dozen people who had either seen the messages or spoken to the women about them."
Ali was first to report that MSNBC was in talks to hire Hugh Hewitt and give him his own show, which it did.
We at JaxGay.com have followed Ali on Twitter for well over a year now. Ali, who has a strong Twitter following, just added this tweet, which says a lot about him. Ali Twitted, “People have been kind enough to offer financial support etc - not necessary. Instead please donate to @pressfreedom https://cpj20023.thankyou4caring.org.”
Lydia Polgreen, Editor in Chief at HuffPost, which published the original article on Bolling stated, “Yashar Ali is a careful and meticulous reporter. We stand by his reporting.”