January 13, 2020

There are many ways to describe Tom Steyer's interview with The New York Times — the same interview every presidential candidate is going through in hopes of receiving the paper's 2020 endorsement. And with the billionaire ending his interview admittedly "upset," well, "rough" might just be an understatement.

Steyer, the oft-donor to Democratic politicians, starts the interview on a less-than-perfect note. He's asked about "policy breakdowns that have led to there still being Americans who are hungry today," and meets it with an "um." It's an admittedly tough question, and Steyer says he'll start by discussing "where people are living" before stumbling to "young people." He eventually recovers to discuss the charitable program he built with his wife.

Things get a little snippy when Steyer is asked if "running for president is the best use of your wealth?," given that the money he's planning to spend on his campaign could fund an estimated five Senate campaigns. "As I'm sure you know since you work for The New York Times and have done your research," Steyer testily begins before describing his voter registration effort NextGen America.

By the end of the interview, Steyer is admittedly "upset" after being asked what he'll likely "fail at as president." He says he's trying to "make sure I keep my temper" and "keep my self-discipline because otherwise I'm going to get very mad," but then calls the Times a "fancy newspaper" that talks to "fancy people," suggesting it's out of touch with what's happening "around this country." Steyer then declares "I'm not sitting here just running my mouth," and the interview ends before the Times can even ask about his tie. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 5, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden issued yet another challenge to an IQ test or push-up contest.

But the challenge isn't to President Trump this time. It's not even to a Republican. It's to an 83-year-old man who showed up to a Biden town hall in Iowa and declared he was "too old" to be president.

The man stood up at Biden's event Thursday and said that he's a "retired farmer" who's "kind of unique because I'm not a Republican." But "you're damn near as old as I am," he said. "I'm 83 and I know damn well I don't have the mental faculties I did." Then, the man got into the business that set Biden off. He described how he believed Democrats' accusations that President Trump "has been messing around in Ukraine," but then said Biden also "sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company ... so you're selling access just like he was."

"You're a damn liar," Biden harshly responded, and questioned the man's suggestion that he had "seen it on TV." "That's why I'm not sedentary, I get up," Biden fired back. Biden then defended his age by saying "let's do push-ups, man, let's take an IQ test." In an apparent slip of the tongue, Biden seemed to call the man "fat," and after the man affirmed he wasn't voting for Biden, Biden said "you're too old to vote for me." Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders later tweeted that Biden had said "look, facts," and hadn't called the man "fat." Kathryn Krawczyk

November 11, 2019

Apple's new credit card is allegedly loaded with original sin.

The New York Department of Financial Services is investigating allegations that the new Apple Card's algorithms discriminate against women in setting credit limits. The investigation began after high-profile men reported earning credit limits far higher than women's, with evidence even coming from Apple's co-founder, Reuters reports.

Entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson criticized the Apple Card in a series of tweets starting Thursday, saying it gave him a credit limit 20 times higher than his wife's even though she has a better credit score. Later, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he got 10 times more credit on the card than his wife, but they have "no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets."

Apple did not immediately respond Sunday to Reuters' request for comment. Apple teamed up to launch the card with Goldman Sachs, which is responsible for credit decisions. Goldman said its decisions were based on creditworthiness, not factors such as gender or race. The Week Staff

November 8, 2019

As someone who has spent a lot of time around President Trump, the anonymous administration official behind the upcoming book A Warning feels it is necessary to alert the public to Trump's behavior behind the scenes.

Several excerpts of the book were released on Thursday night, including one section focusing on Trump's mental acuity. The author writes that while they are "not qualified" to diagnose the president, "I can tell you that normal people who spend any time with Donald Trump are uncomfortable by what they witness. He stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesizing information, not occasionally but with regularity. Those who claim otherwise are lying to themselves or to the country."

The White House is in a state of constant chaos, the official writes, and it's due to the fact that Trump acts "like a 12-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport." Catherine Garcia

October 30, 2019

Another day has brought another dangerous fire to California.

A new fire sprung up in Southern California on Wednesday morning, quickly burning through 972 acres and putting 6,500 homes at risk in Simi Valley, just outside Thousand Oaks. That area, which is under a mandatory evacuation, includes the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, where flames from the so-called Easy Fire could be seen flickering from the nearby hillside.

The Easy Fire is just about 20 miles from the Getty Fire in Los Angeles, named for the nearby Getty Center. That museum has been deemed safe, but the Getty Fire's breakout on Monday still forced a mandatory evacuation of more than 7,000 homes. The Getty Fire is just 27 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, and a mandatory evacuation is still in place as 12 homes have been destroyed, per the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Up in Northern California, the Kincade Fire has burned through 76,825 acres and is 30 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports. The land is mostly rural, but 206 buildings have so far been destroyed. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 10, 2019

The Nobel Prize in Literature is no stranger to controversy, most recently prompting hand-wringing when it awarded Bob Dylan the literary world's highest honor back in 2016. On Thursday, though, with the announcement of the 2019 prize going to Austrian writer Peter Handke, the Swedish Academy is under fire once more.

Handke, 76, is a novelist and a playwright "regarded as one of the most important writers in German," in the words of The New York Times. Handke, who grew up near the Slovenian border, "is also one of the most prominent defenders of the late Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic," writes The American Scholar. Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial at The Hague for war crimes pertaining to the Bosnian genocide, including his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims. Handke, however, eulogized Milosevic after the dictator's death, and "before an overflow crowd of some 20,000 radical Serb nationalists."

While Handke's exact words have been lost, he reportedly claimed Milosevic "defended his people" during the Balkan War; the writer also previously made sympathetic remarks including that "anyone in [Milosevic's] position" would have done the same. Adds The American Scholar, "Even accepting Handke's version, his having taken respectful part in the burial services could not be interpreted as anything other than a sign of his support for Milosevic, a man most disinterested observers believe to have been responsible for a series of wars that claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people during his 13 years in power."

Handke's alignment with Milosevic has been so controversial that in 2006, his nomination for the Heinrich Heine Prize was ultimately withdrawn; likewise, when he was awarded the Ibsen Prize in Oslo in 2014, protesters described him as a fascist and Handke ultimately didn't accept the prize money, either.

Critics of the backlash against Handke have described the reactions as an "attack on artistic freedom." The Nobel committee acknowledged Handke's checkered reputation in its citation, noting "he has, at times, caused controversy." Jeva Lange

September 23, 2019

Juul's future is getting cloudy.

The e-cigarette industry as a whole has come under fire as it becomes clear just how many teenagers starting vaping thanks to companies' flavored nicotine pens. Now, California prosecutors are conducting a federal criminal investigation into e-cig company Juul for its role in facilitating those addictions, people familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal.

The Northern District of California is reportedly leading the charge against Juul Labs Inc., though it is unclear just what the federal prosecutors' focus is, the Journal reports. It follows separate investigations of the company by the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and state attorneys general, though those aren't explicitly pursuing criminal charges.

Over the past few weeks, numbers of people contracting and dying from a vaping-linked lung disease have risen, with the death toll now at at least eight. President Trump pledged earlier this month to pull flavored vaping products off the shelves, while several states have mentioned doing the same.

A spokesperson for Juul had no comment, while a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office "said he couldn’t confirm or deny an ongoing investigation." Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 19, 2019

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything Thursday and likely began regretting that decision almost immediately.

When the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate took to Reddit to answer users' questions, things spiraled out of control right away, with his very first answer getting absolutely pummeled with downvotes and currently sitting at negative 2,700 points. On Reddit, users can either upvote a comment to give it positive karma or downvote a comment to give it negative karma. This first response was to a question about how O'Rourke intends to "confiscate the millions of AR-15s;" O'Rourke wrote that "Americans will comply with the law."

The reception on Reddit wasn't much friendlier from there, with the second highest-voted question in the entire thread being, "Why aren't you running for Senate?" O'Rourke's reply, in which he says he's running to be "the leader that we need and are missing right now," currently has negative 1,200 points, and that score just keeps dropping.

Another one of the top questions was, "Do you still drink alcohol following your drunk driving incident?" O'Rourke, who was arrested for drunk driving in 1998 when he was 26, said "I don't drive if I've had a drink."

O'Rourke was also massively downvoted after deleting and re-posting an answer about ex-convicts to remove a reference to restoring voting rights. He later edited his new comment to say he "made a mistake" and "didn't realize you could edit." O'Rourke chose not to reply to numerous brutal questions that received hundreds of upvotes, including one asking why his "policies changed dramatically" since his "failed Senate run." Some of his replies were received more positively, but four currently have scores with negative karma.

Eventually, O'Rourke just went off to go take questions on the Beto2020 subreddit while thanking users who participated in the main thread for "engaging with me." Boy, did they ever. Brendan Morrow

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