Sunday, March 31, 2019

0 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Democratic Party leaders for 'blackballing' candidates who want to challenge sitting Democrats

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats are publicly attacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after the group announced it will blacklist firms that work with candidates challenging sitting Democrats. 
  • They urged the DCCC to retract its policy and welcome challengers, particularly in safe blue districts.  
  • Ocasio-Cortez told her supporters to "pause" their donations to the DCCC and instead give directly to candidates they support, including those in swing districts. 

Progressive Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, are publicly attacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after the group announced it will blacklist political strategists and vendors that work with candidates challenging sitting Democrats. 

The DCCC's new policy applies to both swing districts, which paved the path to the Democrats' current House majority, and deeply Democratic districts, like those Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley represent. Critics argue that the policy is a transparent attempt to squash candidates who threaten the party's status quo. 

Ocasio-Cortez called the move "extremely divisive" and urged her supporters to "pause" their financial support of the DCCC and instead give directly to candidates and elected officials, particularly those from swing districts. 

"The @DCCC's new rule to blacklist+boycott anyone who does business w/ primary challengers is extremely divisive & harmful to the party," she tweeted on Saturday. "My recommendation, if you're a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC & give directly to swing candidates instead."

Pressley argued in a series of tweets on Saturday that the DCCC's new policy will shut out potential candidates, particularly women and people of color, who are underrepresented in politics and whose ideas will help shake up the status quo. 

"If the DCCC enacts this policy to blacklist vendors who work with challengers, we risk undermining an entire universe of potential candidates and vendors — especially women and people of color — whose ideas, energy, and innovation need a place in our party," Pressley tweeted

Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley both won their seats by defeating longtime Democratic incumbents — both older white men — in their diverse, progressive districts. 

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus held a heated meeting with the DCCC last Wednesday, during which DCCC chair Rep. Cheri Bustos refused to reverse the controversial policy. 

"Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, and I met with Cheri Bustos to make it clear that we strongly oppose her new policy that stifles competition and blackballs any consultant who works for a challenger," CPC member Rep. Ro Khanna told The Intercept. Khanna added that the policy was the most "heavy-handed" the DCCC had implemented in recent years. 

The DCCC insisted that it will focus heavily on increasing the diversity of the Democratic caucus while protecting its majority in 2020. 

"Our voters are diverse, we are actively recruiting candidates to ensure their elected officials better reflect them, and we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure the political professionals we work with do so as well," DCCC Executive Director Allison Jaslow said in a statement to HuffPost. 

SEE ALSO: Democratic politician Lucy Flores has accused Joe Biden of touching and kissing her inappropriately in 2014

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0 Miami's Ultra Music Festival is being called 'Fyre Fest 2.0' after its first night descended into chaos when 50,000 people were left stranded on an island for hours

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Guests attend Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park on March 25, 2018 in Miami, Florida.

  • About 50,000 attendees at Miami's Ultra Music Festival were left stranded after the last show ended at 2 a.m. on Saturday due to transportation issues.
  • Some people waited in line for hours for buses, while others walked or ran the four miles back to Miami from Virginia Key island, where the festival was taking place.
  • People compared the event to Fyre Festival, where attendees who were promised a luxurious experience in the Bahamas instead were greeted with FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches.

Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida, was compared to the disastrous Fyre Festival after 50,000 people were left stranded on an island for hours due to transportation problems.

The festival, which kicked off on Friday and cost $400 for a three-day pass, was dubbed "Fyre Festival 2.0" after concertgoers posted videos on Twitter showing the chaotic ending of the event's first night.

A long line for the event's 200 shuttle buses left tens of thousands of concertgoers stuck on Virginia Key island for hours after the last show ended at 2 a.m., according to the New York Post.

Read more: 15 apocalyptic photos from the Woodstock disaster of 1999 that prove it was the original Fyre Festival

Some people waited hours for the bus, while others walked or ran four miles across the Rickenbacker Causeway back to Miami.

Meanwhile, a tree caught fire as revelers waited to exit the event.

People compared the event to Fyre Festival, where attendees who were promised a luxurious experience in the Bahamas were instead greeted with FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches.


The festival issued an apology on Twitter on Saturday, saying it was working to fix transportation issues for the rest of the weekend.


On Saturday the event ended with less disruption after officials reorganized traffic lines, according to the Miami Herald.

The festival said on Twitter that it was also offering after-party events and keeping food vendors open later so concertgoers had something to do during the mass exodus at the end of the night.

This is the first year the festival was held on Virginia Key. It was moved from Bayfront Park after mainland residents complained about the event's noise.

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0 'Power' actor Omari Hardwick is facing backlash after kissing Beyoncé twice at the NAACP Image Awards

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Omari Hardwick and Beyonce at the NAACP Image Awards.

  • Video from the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday night showed Omari Hardwick kissing Beyoncé on the cheek twice as he greeted her.
  • The video showed Hardwick kissing Beyoncé on the cheek, hugging her, and then kissing her cheek again, close to her mouth. 
  • People on social media criticized Hardwick's decision to kiss Beyoncé, saying he could have given her a "respectable handshake" instead. 

"Power" actor Omari Hardwick is facing backlash online after he kissed Beyoncé on the cheek twice at the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday.

Video showed that during their greeting, Hardwick kissed Beyoncé on the cheek, then hugged her, then kissed her on the cheek again, close to her mouth.

People on social media criticized Hardwick for the greeting, with one person saying a "respectable handshake" would have been better.

Another wrote, "2nd kiss was unnecessary & uncomfortable. Don’t do that again. We women so often get touched, kissed, groped & poked in instances exactly like this (at an event, at work, etc). WE DON’T LIKE IT."

Some people said that Hardwick did not overstep any boundaries, and instead said it was just an awkward interaction.

"The video of Omari Hardwick and Beyonce is definitely awkward as hell, but I think that's it. An awkward interaction. I don't get what this extra stuff is all about," wrote one Twitter user. 

Another wrote, "I really gotta mute Beyoncé & Omari, y'all really be going overboard.

Beyoncé was honored with the Entertainer of the Year award at the event, beating Chadwick Boseman, LeBron James, Regina King, and Ryan Coogler.

Hardwick won an award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the Starz show "Power," beating out Jason Mitchell, Keith David, Kofi Siriboe, and Sterling K. Brown.

Read more: Beyoncé gave 'RuPaul's Drag Race' alum Shangela a standing ovation for her performance of the star's songs

Meanwhile, Beyoncé's husband Jay-Z was the recipient of the President's Award during the ceremony.

"I grew up believing I could conquer anything because of those strong women in my house," he said in a speech at the event, Complex reported. "I would like to dedicate this award to those beautiful women. I'd like to dedicate this award to a beautiful woman in my life Ms. Beyoncé."

Watch the full video here>>>

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0 Jeff Bezos' investigator says tabloid pinned a 'kick me' sign on reported leaker Michael Sanchez to distract from alleged Saudi connection

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michael sanchez bezos 2x1

  • Jeff Bezos' security chief Gavin de Becker said in a bombshell article that the Saudi government had accessed the Amazon chief's phone and gained private information from it.
  • The investigation was launched after a blackmail attempt and an exposé from The National Enquirer contained private text messages between Bezos and his new girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. 
  • The publication was quick to push Sanchez's brother Michael as the source of the leaked information, which deBecker now posits was a diversion tactic from Saudi agents. 

Jeff Bezos' security chief Gavin de Becker said in a bombshell column published Saturday that the Saudi government had access to the Amazon chief's phone and gained private information from it. He also suggested that a widely publicized narrative surrounding the claims that The National Enquirer attempted to extort Jeff Bezos may be an effort to distract from the alleged Saudi surveillance. 

De Becker wrote in The Daily Beast that he could confirm the connection after an extensive investigation that was sparked by reports targeting Bezos' new relationship with television anchor Lauren Sanchez in a tabloid owned by American Media Inc.

Bezos' tensions with the company reached a fever pitch in February when Bezos alleged in a widely-read Medium post that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him by threatening to publish intimate text messages and photos and that he had launched an investigation after a January exposé on his relationship with Sanchez to find out how the paper obtained the private information in the piece.

Read more: Jeff Bezos' security consultant accuses the Saudi government of hacking Amazon CEO's phone, linking them to extortion attempt

The spotlight landed on Sanchez's brother Michael in the days after Bezos' post, who was reported to have leaked his sister's communications with Bezos. In statements from the company and from their attorney Elkhan Ambramowitz, AMI denied any connections to the Trump administration or to Saudi Arabia, insisting there was only one source for the leaked information.

De Becker notes in his article the large-scale campaign from AMI to pin a "kick me" sign on Sanchez in the days after Bezos announced the investigation, saying that ignoring the company's political ties was "too simple."

"Reality is complicated, and can’t always be boiled down to a simple narrative like 'the brother did it,' even when that brother is a person who certainly supplied some information to a supermarket tabloid, and even when that brother is an associate of Roger Stone and Carter Page," de Becker wrote. "Though interesting, it turns out those truths are also too simple."

In his article, De Becker pointed to the appearance by Abramowitz on ABC as the most blatant effort to throw blame on Sanchez's brother for the revealing materials in the January story, when he insisted that the source was "not Saudi Arabia" but a "person that was known to both Bezos and Ms. Sanchez."

Both parties seemed to turn the heat up on Sanchez when de Becker publicly said after he had launched the investigation that Sanchez was "among the people we've been speaking with and looking at."

Sanchez vehemently denied leaking the texts and hit back against de Becker after the investigator added that he believed the hacking was politically motivated.

Michael Sanchez is an avid Trump supporter and associate of Trump-linked figures including Carter Page and the recently-indicted Roger Stone.

In a written statement published in the Washington Post, Sanchez leveled up his defense, accusing de Backer of telling "lies, half-truths, sloppy tabloid leaks, [and] crazy conspiracy theories" and that his priorities are to protect his sister's relationship with Bezos and "to clear my name by telling the truth."

He also suggested that de Becker could share responsibility the leak in order to "sabotage Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez's love affair," in the midst of Bezos' divorce from his longtime wife.

In a statement sent to the Daily Beast in response to de Becker's article, a spokesperson for AMI dismissed the "false and unsubstantiated claims" and insisted the report was done with a "single source." 

"The fact of the matter is, it was Michael Sanchez who tipped the National Enquirer off to the affair on Sept. 10, 2018, and over the course of four months provided all of the materials for our investigation," the statement reads. "His continued efforts to discuss and falsely represent our reporting, and his role in it, has waived any source confidentiality. There was no involvement by any other third party whatsoever."

SEE ALSO: Joe Biden accuser Lucy Flores recounted her story in detail in her first TV interview

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0 40 Big Tech Predictions for 2019

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Digital transformation has arrived. 40 Big Tech Predictions for 2019

Not a single industry is safe from the unstoppable wave of digitization that is sweeping through finance, retail, transportation, and more.

And in 2019, there will be even more transformative developments that will  our businesses, careers, and lives.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has put together a list of 40 Big Tech Predictions for 2019 across Apps and Platforms, Digital Media, Payments, The Internet of Things, E-Commerce, Fintech, Transportation & Logistics, and Digital Health.

Some of these major predictions include:

  • Amazon will launch an Alexa-powered car product similar to Apple's and Google's.
  • Amazon will buy Snapchat as the social app struggles to add users, compete with Instagram, and make money.
  • Despite the hype around the Chase-Visa deal, it alone won’t mark an inflection point for contactless payments in the U.S.
  • Smart speaker prices will hit $20 for the newest models.
  • Social commerce will fail to gain adoption despite social platforms’ efforts.
  • US-based trading app Robinhood will go public in 2019 — and it won’t be the only one.
  • While drone delivery regulation inched forward in 2018, the rise of 5G will see companies taking their drone delivery tests to the next level. 
  • Telemedicine won’t take off. 

To get your copy of this FREE report, simply click here.

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0 Fox News hosts apologize for chyron calling El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras '3 Mexican Countries' (FOX)

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FOX and Friends Sunday 06_03_07 AM

  • "Fox & Friends" apologized Sunday after screenshots went viral of a news segment with a graphic characterizing three countries in Central America as "Mexican countries".
  • The graphic, known as a chyron in the TV world, aired during a segment on Trump's cuts to aid money for the countries over their roles in migration tensions between the US and Mexico
  • "We had an inaccurate graphic on screen while talking about this very story. We just want to be clear, the funding is being cut off to the three Central American countries," host Ed Henry said later in the show.

The hosts of "Fox & Friends" apologized Sunday morning following an early morning segment that ran with a graphic which said President Donald Trump would cut "US aid to 3 Mexican countries."

The text, known in the TV world as chyron, mischaracterized the news item which was actually about three Central American countries.

The mistake follows a long history of criticism of the network's allegedly partisan coverage of news items that critics say misinforms the public and stokes outrage around issues like immigration. Hosts on the network have also faced accusations of racism.

FOX and Friends Sunday 06_02_52 AMThe erroneous chyron came as "Fox & Friends" hosts discussed news that the President plans to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in response to the number of migrants at the US-Mexico border, many of whom come from those countries.

During the segment the hosts discussed Trump's "doubling down on his crackdown of illegal immigration," and said it's "clear he's going full court press on Mexico."

Later on, after the chyron went viral, "Fox & Friends" host Ed Henry made a statement on air apologizing for the chyron error.

“We want to clarify and correct something that happened earlier in the show,” Henry said. “We had an inaccurate graphic on screen while talking about this very story. We just want to be clear, the funding is being cut off to the three Central American countries. We apologize for the error.”

Here's what people are saying on Twitter:




SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos' investigator thinks Saudi Arabia hacked his cell phone — here's how it could have happened

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0 Where are they now? Rick Pitino's 'Untouchable' 1996 Kentucky Wildcats championship team

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Rick Pitino Kentucky Wildcats 1996 College Basketball National Champions

  • Rick Pitino's 1996 Kentucky Wildcats were one of the best college basketball teams ever assembled.
  • Today, many members of the championship team are still involved with basketball as coaches, whether in college or in Pitino's case, abroad.

The 1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team was one of the most dominant in history.

Deemed "The Untouchables," the team only lost two games all season en route to winning the national title, the first for coach Rick Pitino. 

Fittingly, the majority of players on that team went on to enjoy success in basketball after Kentucky as well. Nine players from the team went on to play in the NBA, and a few broke into the coaching ranks. Below, we take a look at what happened to "The Untouchables."

Brandon Wiggins contributed to this report.

Tony Delk was one of the leaders as a senior of the '96 Wildcats. He was the SEC Player of the Year, a consensus first-team All American, and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player that year.

Delk was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets that summer, and spent several seasons as a journeyman in the NBA. He then had brief coaching stints with his alma mater and New Mexico State before becoming an analyst for SEC Network.

Antoine Walker was one of the leading scorers and a first-team All-SEC player for the '96 Wildcats.

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0 2019 NFL Mock Draft: What the experts are predicting will happen in the first round

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Kyler Murray

  • The 2019 NFL draft is set for April 25.
  • Until then, teams will prepare to make their picks, and sportswriters will make their predictions through mock drafts.
  • We analyzed nine mock drafts to get a sense of how the first round might play out.

The 32 NFL teams are surely hard at work studying tape, evaluating players, and working to make deals to move up or down in the April 25 NFL draft.

By examining the predictions of several experts from a variety of outlets, you can get a pretty good idea of how the NFL world thinks the first 32 picks could shake out.

We analyzed the mock drafts of nine experts — Chad Reuter, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Bucky Brooks of; Ryan Wilson and Will Brinson of CBS Sports; Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN; Walter Football; and John Clayton of The Washington Post — and attempted to find a consensus.

Take a look below and see how the experts believe the first round will go down.

1. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB (Oklahoma)

Experts: 9 of 9

Other possibilities: N/A

Key expert quote: From The Ringer: "His diminutive size is the biggest question mark in this draft, but he’s got the playmaking talent, arm strength, and speed to become a superstar."

2. San Francisco 49ers — Nick Bosa, Edge (Ohio State)

Experts: 8 of 9

Other possibilities: Quinnen Williams, DL (Alabama)

Key expert quote: From Davis: "Considered by many to be the best player in the 2019 draft, Bosa is an intriguing mix of size, speed and ferocity. He will team perfectly with Dee Ford and DeForest Buckner to terrorize QBs."

3. New York Jets — Quinnen Williams, DL (Alabama)

Experts: 4 of 9

Other possibilities: Josh Allen, Edge (Kentucky)

Key expert quote: From McShay: "The Jets need defensive linemen for new coordinator Gregg Williams, and the Alabama tackle fits perfectly as an interior pass-rusher who also can stop the run. Williams was incredible at the combine, and his quick first step would be a force on the inside for Gang Green."

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0 How to make pizza without an oven

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.


  • Even without an oven, it's easy to prepare pizza at home, whether you're making it from scratch or simply heating up a frozen pie.
  • You likely already have all the tools required to make pizza without an oven right there in your kitchen, or you can purchase them at surprisingly low prices.
  • We recommend Calphalon's toaster oven as an oven substitute, Lodge cast iron pans for stovetop pizza, and the Maxi Nature Kitchenware pizza pans for grilling.
  • Once you have enjoyed grilled or cast iron skillet pizza, you may not go back to oven-baked pizza even once the option presents itself.

While various forms of flatbreads topped with cheeses, meats, vegetables, and herbs have been consumed for centuries by civilizations around the world, pizza, as we know it today, has only been around for about 250 years.

We have the poorer residents of late 1700s Naples to thank for this delectable foodstuff, as pizza was the main foodstuff of the city's working class in that era. Though disdained as peasant food for nearly a century after it became commonplace, many of the pies these 18th century Neapolitans were eating closely resemble pizzas still enjoyed today, such as the Pizza Mozzarella, later renamed the Margherita pizza in honor of Italy's Queen Margherita a century later.

Today, most of us can have a pizza delivered to our door in a matter of minutes after we order over the phone or online. There are also a plethora of frozen pizza options that cook up into surprisingly delectable dinners. And finally, of course, there is always homemade pizza.

Making pizza from scratch is actually quite simple and, with a bit of practice, arguably the best way to enjoy pizza, as you can control every aspect of the process, from dough consistency to cheese quantity to toppings to seasoning and so on. If you're interested in making your own pizza, consider the book "The Elements of Pizza" by Ken Forkish, and check out our guide to everything you need to make pizza at home.

But whether you're making it from scratch, cooking it from frozen, or re-heating a cold pie you ordered from a restaurant, you can't make pizza without an oven. Right? No. Wrong. You can. That's what we're talking about today, people.

Read on in the slides below to learn how to make pizza without an oven.

How to make pizza in a toaster oven

So you want to bake a pizza, whether fresh or frozen, but you don't have a conventional oven? Zero problem! The easiest solution here is to get a countertop electric oven AKA a toaster oven that plugs into any outlet, no gas line connection required.

Many countertop ovens are compact and affordable and will fit the smaller space of a cramped apartment.

On the lower end of the budget range, consider the $69 Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven, which can bake a pizza up to 12-inches in diameter.

At the other end of the price spectrum, the $199.99 Calphalon Quartz Heat Countertop Toaster Oven can also cook up 12-inch pies, and thanks to its 11 preset cooking functions — including pizza, toast, bake, broil, and more — it can cook just about anything else, too. It also comes with a pizza pan.

You can check out more toaster oven options in our buying guide.

Buy the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven on Amazon for $69

Buy the Calphalon Quartz Heat Countertop Toaster Oven on Amazon for $199.99 (originally $249.99)

Read our full guide to the best toaster ovens you can buy

How to make pizza on the stove

While surely the easiest way to make pizza without a conventional oven is to simply make it with a countertop oven, that's far from the only way. Stovetop pizza can be delicious to eat and fun to make, as long as you pay close attention to the cooking process.

While you can make stovetop pizza in just about any decent pan, a seasoned cast iron skillet is the best choice for even cooking and great flavor. I recommend a pre-seasoned $24.99 Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet. Here's how to use it.

  1. Drizzle two to three tablespoons of olive, grapeseed, or avocado oil into the pan and turn the burner to medium heat.
  2. Stretch out fresh dough to fit the diameter of the pan, and make sure your sauce, cheese, and toppings are at the ready.
  3. Place dough into pan and allow it to cook for about three minutes until the bottom is browning nicely.
  4. Flip dough and quickly apply sauce, cheese, and toppings atop the cooked half.
  5. Cook for three to four additional minutes, covering pan if need be to ensure even and thorough melting.

And that's it! Not only is stovetop pizza faster than baked pizza, it's often tastier, too, as the seasoning of the cast iron imparts a rich, herb and spice flavor.

Buy the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet on Amazon for $24.99 (originally $42.22)

Read our guide to the best cast iron pans you can buy

How to make pizza on the grill

Grilled pizza can be a messy affair. If your dough is too soft, it might drip down past the grates, wasting the food and leading to the most intense grill cleaning session of your life. It's also easy to burn the pie and ruin it that way, too, especially on the first few attempts.

But with patience and practice, grilled pizza will taste as good as the brick oven fired stuff you get from the finest pizzeria in town. Especially if you cook with added wood chips or cook using a pellet stove for that genuine wood-fired oven taste!

Also, I recommend a good pizza grill pan, which can help keep the dough intact as it cooks. Pro tip: Get a set of two, and place one under the raw dough one on top.

When it's time for the flip, you will have the dough sandwiched between the pair, and can then remove the pan left on top that's covering the cooked dough, which is now ready for toppings.

  1. Heat your gas grill to about 600 degrees Fahrenheit, or get a charcoal grill fully lit and evenly burning.
  2. Stretch and roll your dough, then brush both sides with oil.
  3. Place dough on the grill (ideally on a pan) and cook for three minutes; watch out for charring and keep the top off the grill.
  4. Flip the dough, then immediately apply sauce, cheese, and topping.
  5. Close the grill, and cook for an additional three minutes before checking to see if the pie is ready. Which it probably will be.

Buy a 20-pound bag of Traeger PEL319 Oak Wood Grill Pellets on Amazon for $18.99 (originally $20.43)

Buy a 2-pack of 13-inch Maxi Nature Kitchenware Pizza Pans on Amazon for $19.90 (originally $29.90)

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0 Tiffany Trump's spring break trip to Serbia cost taxpayers at least $23,000

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0 LeBron James reportedly called out by teammates over his poor body language

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LeBron James mouthguard

  • LeBron James' first season with the Los Angeles Lakers was a disaster.
  • According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, James' frustrations prompted a players-only meeting, during which his teammates called him out for poor body language throughout a tough stretch of games.
  • While James reportedly responded well to the criticism, the Lakers still couldn't turn things around and will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

LeBron James' first season with the Los Angeles Lakers did not go according to plan.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, James' teammates even went as far as to call a team meeting to effectively call out the superstar for his body language during games.

The meeting came after a brutal stretch in February that began with an embarrassing 136-94 loss to the Indiana Pacers. During the game, James was pictured sitting at the end of the Lakers bench, far from his teammates. And with the trade deadline just days away, Lakers guard Brandon Ingram was met with chants of "LeBron's gonna trade you" while shooting free throws at the start of the game. 

Read more: LeBron James' second game back with the Lakers, amid swirling trade rumors, was a disaster

From there, things went from bad to worse. After a bounce-back win in Boston that made it appear as though the season might turn around, the Lakers dropped three of their next four games, capped by a 128-115 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, with whom the potential Anthony Davis deal had fallen through.

After the game, James openly questioned whether his teammates had the experience and poise to get to the postseason. According to McMenamin, this prompted a players-only meeting, organized by Rajon Rondo, at which players held an "air-it-out" session with LeBron.

McMenamin wrote:

"The meeting in Memphis was a retort of sorts. In what became an open forum, several players spoke up. Players focused on James' inconsistent body language throughout the year. The four-time MVP copped to the critique, telling his teammates that, in essence, cutting out behavior like slumped shoulders and sideways glances has been something he has tried to work on his entire career."

McMenamin said it appeared that James took the critiques to heart, as he showed a bit more focus on lifting teammates, staying engaged and putting his arms around other players during timeouts. But despite the good meeting, the Lakers would fall short, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies to start a 1-6 stretch that would effectively end their season.

While the Lakers' ill-fated season was certainly a death by 1,000 cuts, James' frustrations played a role.

After a stop-and-go first half of the season left the team with a record of 20-14 at Christmas, an injury pulled James from the Lakers starting lineup through most of January, during which Los Angeles went a disappointing 6-11 in his absence.

Upon his return, James was still expected by most to be able to carry the Lakers to their first postseason appearance in five years. With the promise of Davis joining the team before the trade deadline, there was a sense that James, who had made eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, would find a way.

Instead, the pieces never came together on the Davis trade, and the fallout of the failed deal left Los Angeles looking like a dysfunctional mess at the most important moment of their year.

James still has years left with the Lakers, and one big move in the 2019 offseason could make this painful year feel like a distant memory should things break the right way for Los Angeles during the same stretch in 2020. But from the sounds of it, no one was happy with the Lakers' season this year, and the offseason will be a welcome respite for all involved.

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Chris Evans says he might stop supporting the New England Patriots because of Tom Brady's links to Trump

WWE superstar Charlotte Flair rips ESPN after they introduced her as Ric Flair's daughter without mentioning her accomplishments

NFL draft experts predict every pick for the first round

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0 Tell us what you think!

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The future of banking is coming to a smartphone near you. Saving, budgeting, and paying are getting easier than ever before, thanks to new features like scanning your face with a smartphone camera to log in or using your voice to navigate your banking app. To learn which new features matter most to customers in Europe and the UK, we want to hear from you!  

Screen Shot 2019 03 15 at 5.12.18 PM

This survey will take about 5 minutes. As a token of our appreciation for taking our survey, we'll send you an exclusive report on the "40 Big Tech Predictions" for 2019, which spans Apps and Platforms, Digital Media, Payments, The Internet of Things, E-Commerce, Fintech, Transportation & Logistics, and Digital Health!

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0 Joe Biden accuser Lucy Flores recounted her story in detail in her first TV interview

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lucy flores cnn

  • Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, doubled down on her claims that former Vice President Joe Biden touched her inappropriately in her first television interviewsince taking her story public. 
  • Flores detailed an incident with Biden in a New York Magazine article published Friday, in which she said the former vice president grasped her shoulders and kissed her head at a 2014 event. 
  • Responding to Biden's statement in which he said he didn't believe he acted inappropriately, Flores said she wanted him to "change his behavior, and I want him to acknowledge that [the alleged encounter] was wrong."
  • Flores' story resurfaced years of photos and videos capturing Biden in extremely close contact with various women.

Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, pushed back on former Vice President Joe Biden's response to her claims he touched her inappropriately while calling for acknowledgment in her first television interview since taking her story public. 

Flores detailed the incident in a New York Magazine piece published Friday, where she wrote that Biden grasped her shoulders from behind and kissed the back of her head without her consent during a campaign event in 2014.

In a statement released Sunday, Biden denied that there was an inappropriate tone to the encounter, saying he didn't believe he acted inappropriately and making Flores uncomfortable was "never my intention."

Flores pushed back on the statement, saying on CNN's "State of the Union" she wanted the former vice president to acknowledge his alleged actions and "change his behavior."

"If he is saying that he never believed that that was inappropriate, then frankly I think that's a little bit of a disconnect," she said. "I want him to change his behavior, and I want him to acknowledge that it was wrong."

The published account of the incident included a number of other pictures and videos that capture Biden in close contact with women in Washington and on the campaign trail, including some of him nuzzling the neck of an officials' wife and closely whispering to women.

Read more: Joe Biden's 'awkward' interactions with women resurface following allegations of inappropriate touching

"What I am saying is that it's completely inappropriate, that it does not belong in any kind of a professional setting, much less in politics, and that is something that we should consider when we are talking about the background of a person who is considering running for president," she said Sunday after repeating her account of the alleged incident.

Responding to Biden's statement, Flores said his intentions are irrelevant in the face of power dynamics that exist between someone in power like the vice president and other, less powerful, women.

"I just can't imagine that there was never a situation where someone said to him, 'Mr. Vice President, you probably should stop doing that. You should probably stop touching women in that way. You should probably keep your hands to yourself,'" she said.

Echoing calls from other Democratic politicians, Flores said she hoped for a "bigger discussion" concerning women's safety in politics.

"I want this to be a bigger discussion about how there is no accountability structure within our political space," she added. "We are not protected in politics. And frankly, on a much larger scale, we also need to have a conversation about powerful men feeling that they have the right to invade a woman's space whenever they'd like."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a similar call Sunday, telling CBS' Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation" that he has "no reason not to believe" Flores and hopes for a culture change around the treatment of women.

"What this speaks to is the need to fundamentally change the culture of this country and to create environments where women feel comfortable and feel safe," Sanders said. "That's something we've got to do."

Watch the full video here >>>

SEE ALSO: 'SNL's' Donald Trump celebrates the Mueller report summary: 'Daddy won!'

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0 Jeff Bezos' investigator thinks Saudi Arabia hacked his cell phone — here's how it could have happened (AMZN)

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jeff bezos

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' personal security consultant Gavin de Becker believes Saudi Arabia had access to Bezos' phone, according to an op-ed published by de Becker on Saturday in The Daily Beast.
  • While de Becker didn't say how the Saudis gained access to his phone, the country has been accused in the past of using advanced spyware to track its adversaries.
  • Some of that spyware comes from NSO Group, an Israeli company valued at $1 billion that sells technology that can track texts, emails, calls, apps and location data from "the air without leaving a trace," according to a New York Times investigation.

A $1 billion Israeli intelligence startup accused of helping Saudi Arabia track its adversaries could be the key to new assertions from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' security consultant Gavin de Becker.

In an op-ed published in The Daily Beast on Saturday, de Becker said his team concluded that Saudi Arabia  "had access to Bezos' phone and gained private information," following its investigation into how Bezos' texts with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez ended up in the hands of The National Enquirer. 

A foreign government surveilling a powerful American CEO using advanced technologies? It sounds like the stuff of a spy novel.

But as it turns out, tracking people's cell phones is a well-established practice, and the technology behind it — known as "lawful intercept spyware" — is a $12 billion industry.

Software can track texts, emails and apps 

While De Becker stopped short of asserting how Saudi Arabia accessed Bezos' phone, his op-ed linked out to a New York Times article on "internet mercenaries" including NSO Group, DarkMatter, and Black Cube — companies which use technological prowess to put advanced spying techniques in the hands of governments around the globe.

The most established is NSO Group, $1 billion Israeli startup that's open about its mission to help "government agencies prevent and investigate terrorism and crime to save thousands of lives around the globe.'

NSO Group was founded in 2008 by Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie to help cell phone providers gain access to their customer's phones to perform maintenance.

Since then, the company has helped Saudi Arabia "track its adversaries," helped Mexico "hunt drug kingpins," and made millions of dollars doing similar work for dozens of different governments, according to an investigation by the Times. 

NSO Group's main technology Pegasus came out in 2011. Pegasus lets its users collect remote data from smartphone apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype, as well as texts, emails, calls and location data, from "the air without leaving a trace," according to the Times.

While helping Mexico catch drug criminals is within NSO Group's stated mission, the company is at the center of a lawsuit which alleges its technology was used by Saudi Arabia to spy on journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. 

NSO Group has also worked with the United Arab Emirates, which was caught installing NSO's software on the cell phone of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, according to the Times.

NSO faces steep competition

NSO Group isn't the only player in the international spy space.

The Times uncovered steep competition between NSO Group and the Emirati firm DarkMatter, which reportedly formed after an American firm CyberPoint declined the UAE's requests to break American law by cracking encryption codes and hacking websites housed on American servers.

DarkMatter's stated mission is to create a world "where businesses and governments harness and maximise the benefits of the digital environment effectively and safely."

But its techniques go beyond just tracking people's cell phones. The firm reportedly hacked a baby monitor in the home of Mansoor in order to listen in on his conversations.

SEE ALSO: A prominent Silicon Valley VC was 'terminated' from Lightspeed Venture Partners after admitting a link to the college-admissions scandal

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0 'Dumbo' wins the weekend box office, but performs worse than expected

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Dumbo Disney

  • Disney's "Dumbo" took in an estimated $45 million over the weekend. That's below industry projections.
  • Jordan Peele's "Us" came in second place with $33.6 million, and now has earned over $100 million domestically (the movie was made for $20 million). Peele is the first African-American writer-director to have multiple movies gross $100 million (the other being "Get Out").
  • Matthew McConaughey had the worst opening weekend of his career for a wide release movie with "The Beach Bum" only taking in $1.8 million. That's under his previous all-time low that happened earlier this year with the $4.4 million opening for "Serenity."

Disney's "Dumbo" is having a bumpy takeoff.

It's uncommon for a Disney IP to not hit its industry box office projections or surpass it, but that's what's happened to the latest live-action remake of the Disney classic animated movie.

Tim Burton's look at lovable Jumbo Jr. (budgeted at $170 million, not counting marketing) took in an estimated $45 million over the weekend, that's below the $50 million most of the industry predicted it to make this weekend.

Playing on over 4,200 screens, Disney gave the movie the ability to be another one of its many hits, despite having a feeling audiences weren't going to run to see a movie about an elephant with big floppy ears who is split up from his mother. When reviews for "Dumbo" officially went online, Disney released its "Avenge the Fallen" character posters for its upcoming "Avengers: Endgame" Marvel movie, which went viral and numbed some of the negative "Dumbo" reviews (the movie is only sporting a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

Read more: Jai Courtney says he will be back playing Captain Boomerang in the James Gunn "Suicide Squad" movie

The "Dumbo" opening is a far cry from Burton's last live-action remake for Disney. 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" had a $116 million opening, strengthened by the 3D craze of the time. The movie went on to earn $1 billion. The opening for "Dumbo" didn't do as strongly as Disney live-action movies like 2014's "Maleficent" ($69.4 million) and 2015's "Cinderella" ($67.8 million), but did better than the studios' previous live-action remake, "Christopher Robin" ($24.6 million).

Coming in second place for the weekend was Universal's "Us," bringing in $33.6 million. The Jordan Peele movie has earned over $100 million domestically (it was made for $20 million). Peele is now the first African-American writer-director with multiple movies to gross $100 million (the other being "Get Out").

Neon's ambitious release of Harmony Korine movie "The Beach Bum" didn't turn out so well. The movie played on over 1,000 screens but only brought in $1.8 million. That's the lowest wide-release opening ever for a Matthew McConaughey movie (performing worse than the $4.4 million opening for his movie "Serenity" earlier this year).

SEE ALSO: Harmony Korine on what Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg brought to his new movie, "The Beach Bum," and what he thinks his legacy will be

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NOW WATCH: How 'white savior' films like 'Green Book' hurt Hollywood

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0 How the retail industry will top $5.5 trillion by 2020 (TGT, WMT, AMZN)

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The future of retail is looking bright.The future of mobile commerce

So bright that  Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects the industry to top $5.5 trillion by 2020!

While in-store and desktop purchases are certainly helping the retail industry boom, the biggest factor for this incredible growth is in your pocket.

Find out why the smartphone will be crucial for retailers in 2018 and beyond with the first part of a brand new slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence called The Future of Retail: Mobile Commerce.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • US retail is growing $200 billion year-over-year
  • In-store retail is still dwarfing e-commerce
  • But e-commerce is growing almost 4x faster than in-store
  • Mobile commerce is driving most of that growth
  • And much more

To get your copy of the first part of this FREE slide deck, simply click here.

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0 The best Easter egg decorating kits you can buy

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

best easter egg decorating kits

  • Decorating Easter eggs is always easier and more enjoyable when you have the right supplies.
  • These Easter egg decorating kits have everything you need to let your creativity shine.
  • Paas Classic Easter Egg Decorating Kit is the best one overall with its fun stickers, bright colors, and affordable price tag.

Decorating Easter eggs is a fun tradition that many children look forward to each year. After all, what good is an Easter egg hunt with plain white eggs? While decorating eggs can be a great craft project for the whole family, it’s important to choose a kit that offers quality supplies.

Unfortunately, many Easter egg decorating kits underperform and can result in a disappointing experience and wasted eggs. Some contain dyes that aren’t terribly effective or that can permeate the eggs’ shells so that you can’t eat the eggs after. But when you get a quality decorating kit, you can transform eggs into mini works of art, and keep your children entertained for a while, too.

The kits we’ve chosen to include below are known for producing quality results and being ideal for families. One of the kits even has organic dyes, while another kit features egg wraps so that no dyeing is required at all. Our top-ranking kit is versatile, includes many different decorating elements, and is offered at an unbeatable affordable price.

Regardless of which kit you choose, be sure to keep food safety and egg handling best practices in mind. Keep eggs refrigerated until you’re ready to hard boil and decorate them, and teach your kids to wash their hands after handling eggs.

Some of these kits are designed so that you can safely eat the eggs after decorating, but if eggs are left out of the fridge for more than two hours, such as during an Easter egg hunt, then they shouldn’t be consumed. Have a safe and wonderful Easter with your family!

Here are the best Easter egg decorating kits:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

The best Easter egg decorating kit overall

Why you’ll love it: With items including dye, egg arounds, stickers, and more, this well-rounded Paas Classic Easter Egg Decorating Kit provides plenty of decorating options at a great price.

If you’re looking for a versatile Easter egg decorating kit to keep the kids entertained, the Paas Classic Easter Egg Decorating Kit is a great choice. At just $6, you can’t beat the price, and this kit contains a little bit of everything to give your eggs variety.

While this kit may be highly affordable, it’s stuffed full of 127 items, including 91 stickers, nine silly circles, nine dye tablets, and more.

Not only does this kit contain everything you need for dyeing eggs, including a drying tray and egg dipper, but it allows your kids to explore a variety of decorating techniques. There are plenty of stickers, and wrap-arounds give your eggs a different appearance.

Your kids are also likely to love the “magic crayon,” which allows you to draw fun designs on each egg before dyeing for a custom look. With this kit, your kids can use their imagination for custom egg designs.

The Paas Classic Easter Egg Decorating Kit has a 3.6 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, based on 17 reviews. One reviewer named Brian D. Hoffman wrote, “What's not to like! Did its job as described.” Another named Amber Joy noted the kit had great colors, and wrote, “My daughter loved the kit!!”

Pros: Includes many items for a variety of decorating techniques, excellent price

Cons: Dye isn’t the strongest so repeated dyeing may be needed

Buy the Paas Classic Easter Egg Decorating Kit on Amazon for $4 to 9

The best Easter egg decorating kit for young children

Why you’ll love it: The EggMazing Easter Egg Decorator Kit offers minimal mess decorating that’s ideal for young kids.

Egg decorating can be great fun, but dye has a way of getting on everyone’s hands, on the table, and even on the floor. If you’re looking for a low-mess option, the EggMazing Easter Egg Decorator Kit may be the right choice for your family.

This kit includes eight markers and eliminates the entire process of dipping and drying eggs. The markers allow even young children to get in on the fun, and give kids more control of the designs that they want to create on the eggs.

In addition to the markers, this kit includes an egg decorator that is powered by four AA batteries. The decorator holds and turns the egg slowly, allowing for even coloring all around the egg. Of course, kids can also use the markers to freehand on the eggs. Best of all, there’s no dye, so there’s no smell.

The EggMazing Easter Egg Decorator Kit has a 4.2 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 517 reviews. One reviewer who goes by KidzMD wrote, “My 15-year-old, who has hit the "cool" phase, at first moaned about having to color eggs with the family. However, after he did an egg with the eggmazing, he then went on to do two more. The next day he "had" to boil more eggs and did 6 more. Really a fantastic item.”

Another reviewer named Katie G. also found that the whole family wanted to get in on the fun: “Every adult (60's and 30's) in the house had a blast and the kids (10, 13, and 14) wanted to do new ones daily.”

Pros: Includes eight non-toxic markers for minimal mess decorating, powered decorator makes it easy to create fun designs, hands-free

Cons: Colors can rub off on the wheels, so it’s important to clean the machine often

Buy the EggMazing Easter Egg Decorator Kit on Amazon for $25.99

The best organic decorating kit

Why you’ll love it: Not only does the Eco-Eggs Coloring and Grass Growing Kit use safe, organic dyes, it even includes everything you need to grow grass to beautifully display your eggs.

Are you concerned about just what’s contained in traditional egg dyes and food coloring? The Eco-Eggs Coloring and Grass Growing Kit offers an all-natural, organic solution to egg dyeing.

This kit includes dyes made with organic extracts from annatto seed, curcumin, purple sweet potato, and red cabbage. You can use the three powder-based coloring packets and the coloring chart to mix up to six colors.

This kit offers more than just traditional egg dyeing fun. An eco-crayon allows kids to decorate their eggs prior to dyeing. Additionally, this kit contains grass seed and two eco-coconut husk pucks. Add water to the pucks to make soil, plant your grass seed, and grow grass to make a unique display for your decorated eggs.  

The Eco-Eggs Coloring and Grass Growing Kit has a 5 out of 5-star review on Bella Luna Toys.

One reviewer named Dianne wrote, “I really like that you only use warm water and the dye, so the kitchen doesn't smell like vinegar. That on top of not having to worry about my family eating the dye that stains the boiled egg inside is a wonderful bonus!”

Another reviewer named Christina M. wrote, “The dyes can be faint or bold. If you leave the egg in for a few seconds it's a very beautiful light color (like yellow). If you leave the egg in for a long time (we left our last egg in the blue for over an hour!) the color was intense and bold.”

Pros: Non-toxic organic dyes are safe and all-natural, soil and grass seed are included for a beautiful egg display, eco-crayon enhances decorating options

Cons: While three dye colors are included, you need to mix dyes to create up to six colors

Buy the Eco-Eggs Coloring and Grass Growing Kit on Amazon for $10.95

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