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NPR: Vibrator Maker To Pay Millions Over Claims It Secretly Tracked Use

The makers of the We-Vibe, a line of vibrators that can be paired with an app for remote-controlled use, have reached a $3.75 million class action settlement with users following allegations that the company was collecting data on when and how the sex toy was used.

Standard Innovations, the Canadian manufacturer of the We-Vibe, does not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement finalized Monday.

The We-Vibe product line includes a number of Bluetooth-enabled vibrators that, when linked to the "We-Connect" app, can be controlled from a smartphone. It allows a user to vary rhythms, patterns and settings — or give a partner, in the room or anywhere in the world, control of the device. (You can see a video promoting the app's features here; be advised, it is briefly not safe for work.)

Since the app was released in 2014, some observers have raised concerns that Internet-connected sex toys could be vulnerable to hacking. But the lawsuit doesn't involve any outside meddling — instead, it centers on concerns that the company itself was tracking users' sex lives.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois in September. It alleges that — without customers' knowledge — the app was designed to collect information about how often, and with what settings, the vibrator was used.

The lawyers for the anonymous plaintiffs contended that the app, "incredibly," collected users' email addresses, allowing the company "to link the usage information to specific customer accounts."

Customers' email addresses and usage data were transmitted to the company's Canadian servers, the lawsuit alleges. When a We-Vibe was remotely linked to a partner, the connection was described as "secure," but some information was also routed through We-Connect and collected, the lawsuit says.

The unhappy users allege in their lawsuit that they never agreed to the collection of this data. Standard Innovations maintains that users "consented to the conduct alleged" — but instead of taking the case to court, the company agreed to settle.

An estimated 300,000 people bought Bluetooth-enabled WeVibes, according to court documents, and about 100,000 of them used the app.

Under the terms of the settlement, anyone who bought an app-enabled vibrator can receive up to $199 dollars; anyone who actually connected it to the app can collect up to $10,000. The actual amount paid out will depend on how many people file claims; the company estimates people who bought the app will get around $40, and people who used the app around $500.

The high-end vibrators cost between $119 and $199, if purchased through the We-Vibe website.

Standard Innovation also agreed to stop collecting users' email addresses and to update its privacy notice to be clearer about how data is collected.

In a statement, Standard Innovation called the settlement "fair and reasonable."


Moore police recommend 3 prostitution-related charges against Sen. Ralph Shortey

Moore police have recommended three prostitution-related charges against State Sen. Ralph Shortey.

The charges include: soliciting prostitution of a minor, prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transporting for the purpose of prostitution.

Police say the investigation started after a man was found in a motel room with an underage boy. Employees at the Motel 8 in Moore say a person by the name of Ralph Allen Shortey checked in shortly after midnight March 9, and police arrived about 30 minutes later.

Pam Pollard with the Oklahoma Republican Party released the following statement:

“The Oklahoma Republican Party takes all accusations against elected officials seriously, especially when the welfare of a minor is involved. We have reached out to Senator Shortey for comment and have not heard back from him at this time. We await the report from law enforcement on whether charges will be filed.”

The Senate has filed a resolution to impose punishment on Shortey for disorderly behavior. It passed with a 42-0 vote.

The punishment includes:
- Shortey's positions as a vice-chair on the committee on energy and the subcommittee on select agencies of appropriations committee are suspended.
- Shortey's membership on the committee on retirement and insurance, committee on judiciary and committee on appropriations are suspended.
- Shortey's authority to designate an executive assistant pursuant to the provisions of Senate Rule 3-4 is hereby suspended and his executive assistant is hereby placed under the direct supervision of the chief operating officer of the Senate.
- Shortey is directed to immediately return custody of his state-owned laptop computer and any other state-owned property in his possession to the Senate.
- Shorty will no longer be authorized to occupy his office at the State Capitol or his assigned parking spot.
- The provisions of Senate Rule 6-5 are suspended to remove Shortey's name as author or coauthor of any legislation under the control of the Senate. Any other member of the Senate may assume principal authorship or co-authorship of any such legislation as provided in the Senate Rules.
- The allowances for expenses of the office and postage, and for mileage and other travel expenses, granted to Shortey are hereby suspended
- All pages scheduled as of Wednesday, under the sponsorship of Shortey for the remainder of the 2017 legislative session shall be under the sponsorship of the president pro tempore, and no additional pages shall be scheduled under the sponsorship of Shortey for the remainder of the 2017 legislative session.

KOCO Oklahoma City
[v for vendetta] blow shit up

Contrary To Trump's Tweet, Russian Hacking Came Up Before Election (A Lot)

On July 27, Donald Trump created one of the most surreal moments of the presidential campaign, when he encouraged Russians to hack his opponent's email.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you'll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said, speaking about Hillary Clinton's deleted emails from her private email account from her time as secretary of state. "I think you'll probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

So it was a bit of a surprise when on Monday morning, he implied in a tweet that hacking hadn't been a major topic during the election:

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Tori Amos (Angela) Windblown

Donald Trump Appeared In A 2000 Playboy Softcore Porn

Trump breaks a bottle of champagne on a Playboy-branded limo while several of the Playmates are visiting New York City. “Beauty is beauty, and let’s see what happens with New York,” Trump says.

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Donald Trump made an appearance in an explicit 2000 Playboy video.

Trump’s role in the porn is relatively benign and centers around him breaking a bottle of champagne on a Playboy-branded limo while several of the playmates are visiting New York City. BuzzFeed News obtained the footage from the online-only Buffalo, New York–based video store Cinema Cornucopia.

Other scenes from the film feature fully nude women posing in sexual positions, dancing naked, touching themselves while naked, touching each other sensually, rubbing honey on themselves, taking a bath, and dressing in costumes.

The VHS cover of the video reads: “From luxuriating in a warm, soapy tub, to reveling at an exclusive night club, Carol and Darlene bare their sex appeal and lead you on a sensual journey of discovery.”

On a bus tour hunt for the 2000 Playmate of the Year around the country, the Playmates travel to different cities including New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Nashville, and San Diego. Trump welcomes the Playmates in New York and pops a bottle of champagne to kick off the New York stop. Trump then pours it over the Playboy bunny logo.

“Beauty is beauty, and let’s see what happens with New York,” Trump says.

Trump on Friday attacked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who has spoken out about how Trump treated her in the late 1990s, for her “sex tape” — a grainy night-vision video of her having sex while appearing on a reality show. False rumors spread on right-wing websites earlier this week that Machado appeared in a number of online porn videos. The videos under her name on porn sites around the web don’t feature the former beauty queen.

Short video clip at SOURCE
  • chaya

Michigan GOP candidate: Ignore my arrests for publicly masturbating in other people’s cars

A candidate running to represent Michigan’s 95th House district in the state legislature wants you to know that once you look past his bizarre sexual fetish and multiple felony convictions, he is a rock-ribbed conservative Republican, whose “stool of conservatism” is held up by “faith, family and freedom.”

Michigan Live reported Friday that Saginaw’s Jordan D. Haskins dismisses the arrests and prison time as the results of youthful indiscretion and said that he is ready to “move on from that and do what I can” to serve his state as a Republican state Representative.

“I have dreams,” Haskins said to Michigan Live, “and I want to make a difference.”

Haskins, 24, has served prison time in two states and is currently on parole, but there are no rules preventing him from running for the state House.

On four occasions between April of 2010 and January of 2011, Haskins broke into vehicles on public and private property, disconnected the ignition wires, then started the engine. As the wires snapped and spit sparks, Haskins would masturbate to climax in a sexualized ritual he calls “cranking.”

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Source at RawStory had no idea that lack of a father figure led to beatin' it in a police cruiser, but what do I know
Hamilton work

Senate Bill Would Require Sex Ed to be LGBTQ-Inclusive, Medically Accurate

A bill pending in the Senate could drastically improve the sad state of sex education in this country. On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which would provide funding for sex-ed teacher training and grants for education programs that address the needs of LGBTQ young people.

The bill has been percolating through the halls of Congress for a while. Democrats including Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, brought it to the House in 2013, and Lee reintroduced it in March of last year. It’s the first piece of federal legislation to assert a young person’s right to comprehensive education about sexual health that includes information about dating violence, communication and decision-making, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and preventing pregnancy and STIs.

“Sexual health education that includes information beyond abstinence has been found to delay sexual intercourse, increase condom or contraceptive use, reduce the number of partners among young people, and decrease physical aggression with intimate partners,” Booker’s office noted in a press release.

Most U.S. states don’t mandate any kind of sex education, and only 13 states require that the information taught be medically accurate. Those lax requirements have paved the way for untrained or religiously motivated sex-ed teachers to use bizarre, inaccurate metaphors that imply that sex makes people dirty and unlovable. Some states even instruct their public-school sex-ed teachers to tell students that gay sex is immoral, against the law, and a surefire way to end up with AIDS.

If passed, REHYA would provide grants for teacher training and comprehensive sex education programs in K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. It would prohibit the use of federal grants for programs that promote gender stereotypes, suppress information about HIV/AIDS, teach any medically inaccurate information, or do not include accurate, sensitive information for LGBTQ youth and survivors of sexual abuse. REHYA would also allow schools to use these federal funds for contraception distribution.

The federal government currently spends $75 million on abstinence-only sex education, which President Barack Obama completely cut from his proposed 2017 budget. A majority of voters in almost every political and religious demographic group support comprehensive sex education, as do 88 percent of millennials. It’s a proven way to prevent new cases of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy in a country that has one of the highest rates of both. This bill seems like a no-brainer, but considering how long it’s lingered in Congress without a vote, we’re checking our wild, naive fantasies of a country where schoolchildren aren’t told that their states hate them if they’re gay.

Source is Slate

Sex, Lies, and a Twitterfeed - Ted Cruz Edition

Image source

According to the new issue of the National Enquirer, Republican political operatives are investigating rumors that Texas senator Ted Cruz has had extramarital affairs with at least five different women.

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Trending as #cruzsexscandal on Twitter - which is something I wish we would never had to have seen... gross. True or not, he's going to take a huge hit. They were right about John Edwards if anyone recalls.
Total insanity.

Fargo lawmaker sent explicit photo, claims disclosure was payback for vote on gay rights bill

FARGO — A North Dakota lawmaker who sent an explicit photo of himself to another man says the exchange being made public is retaliation for a recent vote against expanding gay rights.

Rep. Randy Boehning, a 52-year-old Republican legislator from Fargo, says a Capitol employee told him a fellow lawmaker vowed to out him as gay if he continued to vote against bills granting gays legal protections against discrimination.

Boehning refused to identify at this point who he believes is behind the purported political payback for his vote against Senate Bill 2279, the third such bill defeated in the past six years by North Dakota legislators.

The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man! , Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis, according to exchanges reviewed by The Forum.

"How can you discriminate against the person youʼre trying to pick up?" Smith said in a recent interview.

When first questioned about the messages two weeks ago, Boehning declined to comment on whether he sent the explicit photo and messages.

But on Saturday he confirmed he was Top Man! and said he doesnʼt think sending a graphic photo of himself to a stranger is a lapse in judgment, as Grindr is an adult site where users often exchange such images.

"Thatʼs what gay guys do on gay sites, donʼt they? " Boehning said. "Thatʼs how things happen on Grindr. Itʼs a gay chat site. Itʼs not the first thing you do on that site. Thatʼs what we do, exchange pics on the site."

Boehning, who is not married, said there are people who know he is gay, but many of his family members and friends do not. He said Saturday he is also attracted to women and was relieved to come out because he no longer has to worry about being outed.

"The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted," he said. "I have to confront it at some point."

Payback for vote?

Boehning said before he voted against the anti-discrimination bill on April 2 a Capitol employee told him a fellow House lawmaker who supported the bill said Boehning would be targeted for retaliation if he didnʼt vote for it. The 12-year veteran of the House still voted against 2279. He also voted against a similar bill in 2009 and would have in 2013, had the proposal not died in the Senate before a House vote.

He would not say who told him he would be targeted or name the lawmaker who is said to have mentioned it. Also, he couldnʼt recall the day he was informed of the alleged retaliation threat.

As of Monday, Boehning said he hadnʼt talked to legislative leaders about the alleged threat and wouldnʼt identify who he thinks is involved without doing that first. Though there is no binding ethics code for North Dakota legislators, he said there could be ramifications and "this isnʼt something I take lightly."

Smith said he stepped forward on his own after discovering Boehningʼs identity when he saw the legislatorʼs photo, which was published on the front page of The Forum the day after the vote. No one with connections to the Legislature encouraged him to take that step, he said.

Rep. Josh Boschee, a Fargo Democrat and the only openly gay member of the Legislature, said he did not speak with Boehning about his vote.

But Boschee said lawmakers from both parties have told him a gay Republican staffer at the Capitol who had been in contact with Boehning on Grindr since his last run for office had warned Boehning "there could be consequences for the hypocrisy of [his] vote," Boschee said.

Boschee would not identify the staffer, saying the man was concerned about the political fallout from his own party.

Asked on Monday via email if it was a Republican staffer who warned him to change his vote, Boehning didnʼt address it specifically.

"Well it would be interesting who it was then stay tuned I guess," he wrote.

ʼStrange bedfellowsʼ

Outing closeted gay politicians who cast votes seen as anti-gay is divisive in the gay community and has many critics. But while Smith and Boschee said they regret that Boehning was forced to come out of the closet, they believe it points out an important discrepancy between Boehningʼs vote and his personal life.

For his part, Boehning said coming out under these circumstances was both a personal relief and a political struggle.

"This has been a challenge for me," Boehning said. "You donʼt tell everyone youʼre going to vote one way and then switch your vote another way—you donʼt have any credibility that way."

Boehning, a self-employed general contractor, said he has voted against multiple attempts to extend protected-class status to include sexual orientation because he doesnʼt believe his south Fargo constituents support it. Also, he has problems with the billʼs language, which would protect people who are "perceived" to be gay.

If "perceived" was removed from the bill, he might vote in favor of it, he said.

Asked whether he would be personally concerned about being discriminated against in the areas of housing, workplace or public accommodation, Boehning, who lives in a rented Fargo apartment, said landlords have the right to do as they see fit.

He said many members of the Legislature find themselves allying and clashing on a variety of issues, regardless of party.

"Politics makes strange bedfellows," he said.

A blink's as good as a smudge to a deaf

Mississippi the most eager state to see 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Perhaps in Mississippi it should be renamed, "Fifty Shades of Irony."

The much-anticipated film "Fifty Shades of Grey" is scheduled to be released this Valentine's Day weekend. It is based on the erotic romance novel that has topped bestseller lists around the world. It is noted for it explicit descriptions of sexual practices involving bondage and sadomasochism.

The American Family Association and its president, Tim Wildmon, are urging everyone not to see the movie. Aside from the graphic sexual nature of the movie, the AFA said the movie promotes domestic violence.

In a Monday news release, Wildmon said, "The irony is not lost that the film's main character is named, 'Christian,' while this film presents anything but a 'Christian' view of intimacy,"

That's not the only irony here. It appears the AFA might be making this plea a little too late.

According to a blog post at The Washington Post's website, the film accounted for 60 percent of all Fandango ticket sales this week, especially in the South and Midwest. That makes it the highest-grossing R-rated movie in pre-release sales on the movie ticket website.

Fandango calculated pre-ticket sales for the movie and compared that to each state's average to determine which state seems the most eager to watch the film. The No. 1 state? Mississippi, nearly four times its average for pre-show ticket sales. And the first city to sellout a theater in Mississippi? Tupelo, where the AFA office is located.

But the AFA is not alone in its request to avoid the movie. Several pastors and bishops around the country are speaking out against the film, as well as domestic violence activists. Also, Dr. Miriam Grossman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, said on her blog that parents can't "underestimate the impact of the hard sell on your kids. Even if they don't see the film, they are absorbing its toxic message, and need your wisdom and guidance."

The AFA news release made note of a social media movement (#50DollarsNot50Shades) that is encouraging moviegoers to donate $50 to a domestic abuse shelter instead of $50 to see "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"Nothing in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' builds up society, respects or empowers women or demonstrates healthy relationships," said Wildmon. "Rather, the film glorifies abusive relationships and glamorizes abusive tendencies such as stalking, bondage sex, intimidation and isolation. ... Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content that's touted as 'entertainment' and choose not to show or pay to see the film."