While You Were Offline: Sarah Palin Brought Ted Nugent and Kid Rock to the White House

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What kind of week has it been? Well, the United Kingdom plunged back into its second general election in two years, Dow Chemical asked the Trump administration to ignore scientific findings about pesticides, and everyone lost their minds watching a live stream of a giraffe giving birth. (OK, that last one is kind of amazing.) With all this going on, perhaps you’ve lost focus over the past seven days and need to be reminded what’s truly important in life. Or, at least, what people on the internet think is important. Look no further, dear reader: That’s exactly what we’re here to tell you about. As always, here are the hottest topics online from the past 168 hours. You’re welcome.

Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock Walk Into the White House…

What Happened: Sarah Palin went to the White House for dinner—and she did not go alone.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: So, former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin had dinner at the White House last week. The fact that President Trump would invite Palin over for dinner isn’t all that surprising. What was surprising, however, were the celebrity guest stars who joined her.

Recognize those guys?

If you’re wondering just why Palin brought Kid Rock and Ted Nugent to the White House, well, she has a very good explanation for that: “Jesus was booked,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “So, yes, I invited my buddies Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, some bold, courageous, all-American dudes who I knew would have good conversation with the president and get to express a lot of good, middle-class, work ethic-type issues and policy proposals that they could all relate to, and that’s exactly what happened at the dinner.”

It was the type of publicity stunt intended to draw attention, and the media didn’t let anyone down in that regard.

As news of the dinner spread, opinion on Twitter was divided. Some folks, for example, couldn’t quite believe Nugent, Rock, and Palin were palling around the Oval Office with Trump.

Meanwhile, others found joy in how upset the first group got.

But really, this kind of thing was made to rankle the internet, so no one is surprised.
The Takeaway: Still, it could be worse. No, seriously.

Does Jeff Sessions Know How Hawaii Works?

What Happened: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Hawaii “an island in the Pacific.”
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s been a while since we’ve really heard from Jeff Sessions, hasn’t it? Well, last Wednesday, during an interview on The Mark Levin Show, Sessions returned with a statement that left a lot of folks scratching their heads. Talking about rulings since Trump took office, Sessions said, “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.”

“An island in the Pacific”? He… knows how Hawaii works, right? The comments quickly grabbed the attention of the media—and Twitter was just as stunned, if a little more sarcastic.

With all this attention, it’s no surprise that the Justice Department felt the need to clarify Sessions’ comments, although it did so in a way that dodged whether or not Sessions had forgotten that Hawaii was a state or not. “Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific—a beautiful one where the Attorney General’s granddaughter was born,” said Justice Department spokesman Ian D. Prior. “The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the president’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe.”

Fun fact: Hawaii is not an island in the Pacific. It’s more than a hundred islands, all told. Here’s looking forward to the clarification to the clarification, stating that Sessions meant the actual Island of Hawai’i.

The Takeaway: Then again, maybe Sessions’ comments were all part of a grand plan?

Bill O’Reilly: No Longer Doing It Live

What Happened: After more than two decades at Fox News, Bill O’Reilly was fired.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: It’s an end that seemed impossible even two weeks ago, but once the internet got involved it was only a matter of time before Bill O’Reilly was let go by Fox News.

There was, of course, backlash to his dismissal:

As the media started the speculation game about his replacement, O’Reilly started getting tributes from the likes of Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah.

But it was former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee who came in with the sickest burn.

As O’Reilly gets $25 million for being fired and continues to proclaim his innocence, let the exterior of Fox News HQ tell a story in two tweets.

The Takeaway: Any opportunity to revisit this meme is a good thing—for the internet, at least.

#Chaffexit

What Happened: It wasn’t that long ago that Jason Chaffetz was a rising star in Republican politics. And then, this week, he kind of imploded in an impressively short amount of time.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Once upon a time, the name Jason Chaffetz was held up by Republicans as one to watch, with his dogged pursuit of Hillary Clinton in his Benghazi investigation illustrating that he was the right man to lead the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a position he’s held since 2015. However, since Trump took office he’s drawn criticism for a number of reasons, including pledging to continue to investigate Clinton, refusing to investigate Michael Flynn, and threatening to investigate the independent Office of Government Ethics if it didn’t stop wondering about President Trump’s conflicts of interest. (Another subject Chaffetz had no interest in looking into.)

He also suggested that poor people should pay for their healthcare by not buying iPhones, but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s just say, it’s not been a good few months for Jason Chaffetz, and then last week he revealed he’s not going to take it anymore.

The announcement caused a ruckus in the media, which obviously wanted to know what was behind it. The chattering classes on Twitter were also immediately suspicious of the news.

The next day, things got even stranger when Chaffetz revealed he might quit early. But, he tried to reassure the press, there was certainly no scandal behind the whole thing. He just wanted a new job. “I started poking around to see what I might be worth and what sort of possibilities are there,” he said in an interview. “And I got a series of ‘Let us know when you’re serious.’ Well now I can say, ‘Can you tell I am serious?’… I’d be thrilled to have a television relationship. But there’s a number of things I’d like to do.” Was that enough to convince the Twittertariat?

And then, to prove that this was turning into a big deal, Chaffetz’s exit got its own hashtag.

The Takeaway: As of this writing, there’s still not 100 percent clarity regarding what’s going on here, but it’s just a matter of time, right?

Hard Pressed

What Happened: When is the next big tech thing not a thing? When it turns out good old fashioned human power can have the same effect, only cheaper and faster.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Ever heard of a Juicero Press? If not, here’s the short version: It’s a $399 juicer that uses specially-created packs of ingredients to create a drink that, they claim, will blow you away with its “perfect flavors,” creating a feeling that is “energizing and invigorating.”

There’s just one problem, as Bloomberg reported this week in a story about the fact that the company had raised around $120 million in funding: “Two backers said the final device was bulkier than what was originally pitched and that they were puzzled to find that customers could achieve similar results without it. Bloomberg performed its own press test, pitting a Juicero machine against a reporter’s grip. The experiment found that squeezing the bag yields nearly the same amount of juice just as quickly—and in some cases, faster—than using the device.”

In other words, it’s a Capri Sun delivery device—one that costs $400. Twitter, do you want to take this one?

You can bet that tech media was happy to jump on this one as well.

With a full-scale backlash on his hands, Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn did what was expected of him: He wrote a post on Medium to try to head off the bad vibes with some marketing speak.

“What I love about Juicero is that our team is attacking this issue in a way unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” he boasted. “It’s incredible to come to work every day alongside hardware and software engineers, food scientists, designers, farmer partners, and all our other team members who are committed to building a new way of delivering raw, plant-based nutrition.” That’s right: “raw, plant-based nutrition.” It’s not even juice, you guys. Are you convinced yet? If not, he had more: “The value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-pressed juice. Much more. The value is in how easy it is for a frazzled dad to do something good for himself while getting the kids ready for school, without having to prep ingredients and clean a juicer. It’s in how the busy professional who needs more greens in her life gets App reminders to press Produce Packs before they expire, so she doesn’t waste the hard-earned money she spent on them.” See? Juicero cares.

In fact, the company cares so much they started offering refunds. “For the next 30 days, we’ve decided to extend our Happiness Guarantee to any Juicero customer—new or old —who feels that we aren’t making it easier, more enjoyable and delicious to form a healthy habit,” Dunn wrote in his Medium post. “That means that if you send us your Press, we’ll refund the money you paid for it. Period.”

The Takeaway: If only there was some way we could work in a CSI-style joke about what’s going on…

Ah, that’s the stuff.

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