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Cher Offers To Work At The Post Office Amid Fears That Donald Trump Is Sabotaging Postal Service

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With fears that Donald Trump could be trying to stop mail in ballots for the 2020 presidential race by causing postal disruptions, Cher is personally volunteering to work at post offices near her home.

Cher isn’t about to let Donald Trump, 74, and Postmaster General/Republican mega-donor Louis DeJoy allegedly try to dismantle the United States Postal Service ahead of the 2020 presidential election. After hearing reports of mailboxes being removed in neighborhoods throughout swing states, sorting machines at post offices being dismantled and other alarming steps that could disrupt voting by mail, the “Believe” singer wants to help out her local Malibu post offices by volunteering. The 74-year-old national treasure even called them in person to offer her services!

On the morning of Aug. 19, Cher took to Twitter and asked if people can volunteer their services at the post office. When she got a lot of joking responses, Cher tweeted, “NO, IM NO KIDDING…COULD I VOLUNTEER AT MY POST OFFICE,” in all caps, so you know the Oscar winner was serious.

Cher
Cher arrives at the ‘The Cher Show’ Broadway opening night arrivals on December 3, 2018 in New York City. Photo credit: MEGA.

Cher then took matters into her own hands, phoning two post offices near her Malibu home to see how she could be of help. “OK, Called 2 post offices In Malibu. They were polite. I Said ‘Hi This Is Cher, & I Would like to know If you ever take Volunteers.’ Lady Said She Didn’t Know & Gave Me # Of Supervisor. I Called & Said Hi This is Cher Do U Accept volunteers. ‘NO,Need Fingerprints & Background Check,'” Cher tweeted, explaining how her best efforts were shot down. Even though it probably made the day for the two postal workers who happened to talk to an eager Cher on the phone.

Cher
Cher arrives at London’s BBC Radio Two Studios to promote her film ‘Mama Mia’ on July 17, 2018. Photo credit: MEGA.

While many fans cheered her on, tweeting that Cher should be named postmaster general for caring so much, the American Postal Workers Union which represents 220,000 postal workers replied to the entertainer and said, “Thank you for standing up for the USPS! If you’d like to DM us, we’d love to talk about how you can get more involved.” Maybe Cher can become a post office volunteer after all!

Cher has reasons to be concerned, as photos and video from across the country — but particularly in election swing states — have shown mailboxes being removed or locked, as well as the dismantling of sorting machines that are needed to handle the volume of mail-in votes expected in the Nov. 3 presidential election. With long lines expected, the threat of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, many voters are hoping to vote by mail for the safety of their health.

In a report out of Grand Rapids, MI on the same day that Cher shared her concerns about the president and his postmaster general allegedly attempting to sabotage the election, a reporter stood in front of a “graveyard of mail sorting pieces,” showing large pieces of machinery that had been yanked out with all of their electrical cords cut. The reporter then showed a giant dumpster and said that nearby employees said it had already been filled three times since last week with “parts and pieces from the mail sorting machines.” In the 2016 presidential election, only 10,000 votes separated Trump from opponent Hillary Clinton, 72, in the swing state of Michigan.

On Aug. 13, Trump told Fox Business news that he’s starving the postal service’s budget to get his way on coronavirus relief package that would put pressure on many states’ budgets. “Now, they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump told host Maria Bartiromo. “Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.” Trump has also said that he will not approve $25 billion in emergency USPS funding and $3.5 billion for election resources supplemental funding.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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