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Susan Collins Got Torched For Calling Jan. 6 Commission ‘Partisan’ And Trying To Defend Jim Jordan

Susan Collins has long been the Neville Chamberlain of the so-called moderate right. The Maine senator has always pitched herself as a rare Republican who will reach across the aisle, and while she sometimes breaks rank — she was one of too few Rs who voted for Trump’s second impeachment, which didn’t clear the Senate — but more often she doesn’t. She infamously okayed Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, and after Trump’s first impeachment — which she didn’t vote for — she bizarrely claimed he’d “learned his lesson.” (Spoiler: He didn’t.)

So naturally Collins poo-poohed the ongoing Jan. 6 committee. On Sunday she went on CNN, where she said she was “very disappointed” that the probe into the Capitol siege wasn’t as bipartisan as it could have been. Did that mean she was angry with Republicans, who shot such a committee down a number of weeks back? Nope. She put the blame on Democrats. “We should have had a 9/11-style commission, to fully look at what happened.”

Tapper didn’t let her argument slide. “Mitch McConnell opposed it, that’s why it didn’t happen,” he reminded her. He also pointed out that, despite her calling it a “partisan” committee, there are two Republicans on it: representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney.

“I respect both of them, but I do not think it was right for the speaker to decide which Republicans should be on the committee,” Collins replied, referring to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks, including Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom Pelosi deemed unfit.

But Tapper didn’t let that slide either. He reminded her that both Banks and McCarthy are “election liars,” and that Jordan — who recently confessed that he spoke with Trump on Jan. 6, though he seemed to pretend that he couldn’t remember when — is possibly a material witness. But Collins tried to downplay that.

“There were many communications with President Trump that day,” she replied. She did clear a very low bar indeed, which is that those who stormed the Capitol were clearly inspired by the former president’s words.

While the rioters are primarily responsible for what happened, there’s no doubt in my mind that President Trump helped instigate and motivate the rioters,” she allowed.

What Tapper didn’t come and say is that she’d fallen right into McCarthy’s hands. No doubt that, by stocking his portion of the committee with lawmakers who believe the election was stolen — and who would turn it into a circus — he was hoping Pelosi would deny their involvement. And then someone like Collins would go on a place like CNN and claim that Pelosi, not McCarthy, was in the wrong for not being more bipartisan.

Collins’ words weren’t surprising. After all, some on social media pointed out, she almost always falls for what those on her side of the aisle claim.

Some dwelled on her curious defense of Jim Jordan, which wasn’t quite the rebuttal she was hoping for.

Speaking of learning lessons, some drudged up her defense of Donald J. Trump.

And her support for Kavanaugh.

And her other faults.

Some refused to believe she was even a true moderate.

We’re still a ways away from the committee concluding its fact-finding mission, but the odds are good that whatever they turn up, Collins will claim the day’s perpetrators will learn some valuable lessons.

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Report: The Heat Will Pick Up Goran Dragic’s Team Option And Decline Andre Iguodala’s

The Miami Heat had a pair of huge decisions to make before the start of free agency. Two highly-paid veterans, Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, each had team options worth a combined $34.4 million, and with Miami’s perpetual desire to bring in big names every offseason, that’s a ton of money to tie up in a pair of rotation players.

According to reports, the Heat made up their minds, and opted to only bring one of those guys back. The team will decline Iguodala’s option, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, and pick up Dragic’s option, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

What makes this decision so interesting is that the Heat are viewed as a potential landing spot for Kyle Lowry, who reports indicate want something in the range of $25-30 million this summer. While picking up Dragic’s option means they can’t bring him on board as a free agent (for now, at least), Wojnarowski noted that Miami could potentially use that money as part of a sign-and-trade package.

Dragic showed during the team’s run to the Finals in the NBA’s Orlando Bubble that he can still be a very good player, but last year, he struggled. The 35-year-old guard averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists in 26.7 minutes per game.

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Lil Nas X Had A Sarcastic Thank You After The ‘Montero’ Video Reached A New And Dubious Milestone On YouTube

A few months ago, Lil Nas X released “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and its accompanying music video, both of which sent the industry into chaos. From the Satan Shoes that were released with it, the images of hell in the video, and the singer dancing with the devil, the “Old Town Road” act found himself in headlines for a healthy amount of time. But outraged press is still press, and the controversy helped the video reach a new and dubious milestone.

The video reached one million dislikes this past weekend, becoming the first video on his artist page to do so. The news was shared by a Lil Nas fan account and after the singer himself caught wind of it, he shared a brief message. “Thank u to everyone who made this possible,” he wrote. “I am nothing without you guys lack of support.”

Back in June, Lil Nas revealed that he anticipated that the song and its video would receive considerable backlash. “Even when I was planning the video, I was like, ‘Oh, this is definitely going to hit Fox News,’” he said during a guest appearance on the Desus & Mero Showtime series. “I definitely didn’t expect the outrage as much as it was at all, especially, like, governors tweeting me. Like, you’re a governor. You don’t have anything better to do?”

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Prince’s Estate Sold Almost Half Of The Late Singer’s Rights To A New York Publisher

This past Friday, Prince’s estate released Welcome 2 America, the late singer’s first full album solely comprised of previously unreleased material. The 11-track project — which was recorded back in 2010 prior to his Welcome 2 America tour — captured Prince’s concerns, hopes, and visions for society at that moment and how he believed politics, disinformation, and the growing push for social justice would affect the world in the future. Now his estate has made some new moves that may make even more of his work more accessible.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the late singer’s three youngest siblings agreed to sell a large portion of their inheritance in the estate to Primary Wave, an independent New York music publisher and talent management company, which is in control of a catalog that also includes music from Ray Charles, Nirvana, and more.

According to Rolling Stone, the exchange grants Primary Wave the rights to Prince’s name and likeness, royalties from his masters and publishing rights, as well as his beloved Paisley Park studios. The late singer’s three oldest siblings — Sharon, Norrine, and John Nelson — have all said they have no plans to sell any part of their stake in the estate. “We’ll never sell out. We know the prize,” Sharon said to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

L. Londell McMillan, a New York lawyer that represents Sharon, Norrine, and John Nelson shared a statement on behalf of the trio. “There’s not much anyone can do about family members who sell out for the dollar,” he said. “That’s their right.”

Prince is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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Kevin Smith Will Celebrate His 51st Birthday By Starting To Shoot ‘Clerks III’

Kevin Smith was 24 when Clerks, his film debut, was released — younger than even Orson Welles when he made Citizen Kane. His career has been a whirlwind, filled with peaks and valleys and challenges. He’s worked for big studios and gone fully, truly independent. He’s made movies and written comics and rebooted He-Man. He’s had a major health scare that turned him into a health-conscious vegan. And on the last day of the first half-century of his life — the day before he goes full circle by returning, once again, to his initial triumph — Smith was appropriately reflective and humble.

“Today is my last day of being 50. Tomorrow I turn 51 and we start shooting Clerks III,” Smith said in a video posted to Twitter Sunday morning. “It’s also another anniversary. Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the night I [saw Richard Linklater’s] Slacker and decided to become a filmmaker.”

He added, “It’s been an excellent first half century. Thank you all.”

Smith last revisited the world of Jersey’s Quick Stop convenience stores in 2006, with Clerks II, which brought back much of the original cast, as well as Rosario Dawson, Jason Lee, and Ben Affleck. He’s repeatedly returned to break-out side characters Jay and Silent Bob, played by Jason Mewes and himself, most recently with 2019’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. The threequel sounds like it will be semi-autobiographical, with Jeff Anderson’s Randall recovering from a heart attack, much as Smith himself did.

(Via EW)

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With A.J. McKee, Bellator Has The Face And Future Of The Promotion

Saturday night in Inglewood, California, as the crowd inside The Forum at Bellator 263 erupted, 26-year-old A.J. McKee officially arrived as Bellator’s foundational star.

Knocking on the door of superstardom ahead of his championship fight in the finals of the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix, McKee showed off every ounce of potential that’s gotten him to an unblemished 18-0 record. He has finishing power, shown off by his huge left head kick that rocked the former champ, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Then he cinched on a tight standing guillotine to claim the belt less than two minutes into the first round, showing off his submission skills on the ground or on his feet.

And as McKee celebrated with a champagne shower inside the cage, Bellator president Scott Coker reflected on the “spectacular” and “electric” championship fight feeling in the Long Beach-native’s backyard.

“He was impressive. I’ve seen Pitbull fight for many years. A.J. did what he had to do, took care of business. Won the tournament, won a million dollars. I think he’s very happy right now,” Coker said in the post-fight press conference. “I think A.J. completely dominated the fight. Pitbull is a great fighter, he’s been a great champion. A.J. is a rising star that became a big star tonight.”

Coker is no stranger to big stars — his promotion has had plenty of them — but McKee is different. He’s not an aging star with his best days in the past. He was brought in as a foundational piece of the Bellator future at just 18 years old and Coker is watching the fruits of his labor blossom into one of the top draws in the world.

McKee’s swagger is off the charts, he has finishing power from anywhere, and Saturday night, he showed how he can sell a fight. Now, it’s all about where Bellator goes from here.

Despite McKee’s struggles to make 145 pounds for the main event — he needed two tries — the new featherweight champion believes he’s not just the best in Bellator, he’s the best in the world.

“Being at 145 pounds isn’t the easiest,” McKee said, via MMA Junkie. “Maybe we get some superfights going but I’m pretty much done with the division at 145 pounds, so hop up to 155 pounds. He’s the best 145-pounder – was the best. I’ve pretty much been saying it. Now people are seeing it and believing it. I am the best 145-pounder in the world whether it’s UFC, ONE FC, PFL, I don’t care who it is.”

In a day and age when seemingly every promotion is vying for cross-promotional superfights, McKee isn’t worried about getting lost in the shuffle. He seems to be just as happy taking a Max Holloway fight as he would be staying in Bellator and trying to become the first fighter to defeat Pitbull twice — albeit likely at 155 pounds.

While he’s certainly not ruling out another bout in the featherweight division, a move to lightweight and a rematch against Pitbull makes the most sense in the immediate term. But regardless of where McKee lands, Coker finally has his homegrown star and someone who appears determined on becoming the transcendent star the promotion has been searching for.

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Matt Gaetz Mocked COVID Concerns By Saying He Has ‘The Florida Variant,’ As Cases In The State Surge

On Saturday, Florida experienced its largest single-day increase in COVID cases since the pandemic’s start. The Delta variant, far more transmissible than earlier strains, has breathed new life into a catastrophe that seemed to be on the wane, and sure enough, the Sunshine State — whose Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has always downplayed its severity — saw a massive uptick: some 21,683 new cases, as per the CDC. Meanwhile, Matt Gaetz, the state’s most headline-grabbing politician, was making fun of the health crisis that’s running roughshod over his home.

On Saturday, the Republican representative kicked off his “Freedom Tour,” which either referred to some interpretation of the term “liberty” or to the thing he may lose once the federal investigation into his ties to a sex trafficking ring comes to a close. At one stop, while standing in front of a fake backdrop filled with images of Trump 2020 signs, he mocked the very thing that was targeting his mask-hating constituents.

“You’ve had all the experts say look out for the delta variant or the lambda variant, well next it’ll be the Chi Omega variant or the Pi Kappa Psi variant,” he told the crowd. “I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant. It affects the brain. It gets you to think for yourself where you don’t just surrender to the truth that they’re trying to create in corrupt big media.”

It sure does affect the brain. A number of prominent Republicans have recently pulled a 180, advising their base — which have been predominantly COVID skeptics who hate wearing protective cotton contraptions on their faces, and therefore more susceptible to the new variant — begging them to get vaccinated so they don’t get sick and/or die.

Gaetz isn’t one of them. Indeed, it seems particularly clueless, even for him, to dub something a “Florida variant” when the disease in question is now especially targeting Floridians whose lawmakers keep giving them bad advice.

(Via The Daily Beast)

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DaBaby Has Been Dropped From Lollapalooza’s 2021 Festival Lineup

The homophobic rant DaBaby delivered during last weekend’s Rolling Loud festival in Miami was met with plenty of backlash. His rant — which also targeted people with HIV/AIDS — earned him criticism from Madonna, Dua Lipa, Elton John, Questlove, and more, while BoohooMan terminated their partnership with him. Now, his actions have impacted one of his bigger gigs.

On Sunday, Lollapalooza announced that DaBaby would no longer perform at the show, just a half-hour before the final day of the festival began. “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love,” read a statement put out by the festival. “With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” The festival also announced that Young Thug will take the show’s 9 p.m. slot, while G Herbo will step into the 4 p.m. slot to accommodate the gap in their scheduling.

While the move from Lollapalooza is a credible one, it should be noted that at least one other scheduled performer has made public statements that don’t exactly comply with “diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love.” Last year, Young Thug — who’s still on the line-up — responded to controversial comments Boosie Badazz made about Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union’s trans daughter. But he seemed to be more on Boosie’s side. “All I wanna say to dwade son is ‘GOD DONT MAKE MISTAKES’ but hey live your true self,” he wrote in a tweet. The rapper later deleted the message.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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Serge Ibaka Will Pick Up His Player Option And Return To The Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers will retain the services of Serge Ibaka for the 2021-22 season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers’ big man will pick up the player option in his contract for next season, eschewing free agency and giving L.A. a shot in the arm in its frontcourt.

Ibaka joined the Clippers in free agency last year from the Toronto Raptors and gave the team a consistent option in the frontcourt. Midway through the season, though, Ibaka suffered a back injury that held him out for essentially all of the second half of the year. While he tried to play in the team’s final two regular season games and its first two postseason tilts, Ibaka eventually got shut down, and it was announced that he needed to undergo back surgery.

It is not known if Ibaka will be ready to go when the 2021-22 campaign rolls around, but whenever he is able to play, he’ll give Los Angeles some frontcourt reinforcements that they don’t really have outside of Ivica Zubac — following Ibaka’s injury, the Clippers relied heavily on small ball last postseason, something that will likely be more difficult with Kawhi Leonard out for much (if not all) of next year. On the season, Ibaka averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game.