House Democrats Introduce Bill to Restore Utah Monument Trump Demolished

The beauty that is Bears Ears.
Photo: Getty

When President Donald Trump shrunk the Bears Ears National Monument in December 2017, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) didn’t yet have a seat in Congress. But the issue was personal to her then—and it remains personal today.

“It’s my ancestral homeland,” Haaland told Earther of the national monument located in southeastern Utah. “It’s a spiritual place. It’s an important place.”

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Now, she can finally do something about it as one of the first Native American women in Congress. On Wednesday, Haaland introduced a bill with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) to restore and expand the boundaries of the national monument, which Trump cut by more than 80 percent. Former President Barack Obama set aside 1.35 million acres when he created the monument in 2016, but the five tribes with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition that helped work on its designation originally wanted 1.9 million acres. That’s the acreage this new bill proposes.

“The Hopi Tribe appreciates Representatives Gallego and Haaland’s efforts to protect the sacred landscape that is Bears Ears,” said the Hopi Tribe, one of the coalition’s five tribes, in a statement. “It is encouraging to see Congress working towards safeguarding our most cherished landscapes instead of dismantling them.”

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Utah Rep. John Curtis, whose district the monument sits in, is reportedly pissed since he championed the monument’s removal. He, however, can rest easy: While Haaland expects the bill to pass the House—it’s already got more than 70 co-sponsors—it’s unlikely to become law. That requires a partner bill in the Senate and, ultimately, a signature from the president.

The goal, though, is to keep is to keep the pressure on in every way possible. The bill follows a series of lawsuits which sprang up shortly after the re-designation occurred and are still making their way through the courts.

“Just because there is a president in office who essentially has attacked public lands doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying,” Haaland said. “We can’t throw up our hands and not do anything. We have to do whatever we can do.”

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The inter-tribal coalition supports the bill, as do environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Tribal sovereignty and the protection of cultural artifacts and dino fossils are key issues here, but so is the protection of public lands. The Trump administration has already opened former Bears Ears lands to uranium and gold mining land claims. And fossil fuel reserves could be next. Last March, the New York Times unearthed emails showing that oil and gas played a key role in the Trump administration’s decision to strip the land of its protections.

Rep. Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American elected to Congress. Ever.
Photo: Getty

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee where this bill was introduced, is calling for an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to downsize Bears Ears. He believes industry’s interest in extraction drove this monument reduction.

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“I stand to be proven wrong,” Grijalva told local NPR affiliate KUER. “That’s why we have oversight. That’s why we have those investigations.”

Haaland feels similarly. She doesn’t want to see these lands “auctioned off.” And she certainly doesn’t want to see the infrastructure that’s causing climate change—i.e. oil and gas drilling—ruin the pristine landscape of the region.

“The fossil fuel industry disrupting a place like Bears Ears will not help us,” she said. “In fact, it would hinder our ability to fight climate change.”

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#FuckFuckJerry now has its own Tim Heidecker-penned theme song

Elliot ‘Fuck Jerry’ Tebele
Photo: Gabe Ginsberg (Getty Images)

Earlier this week, we wrote about Vulture comedy editor Megh Wright, and her campaign to get people to stop giving money and attention to online “marketing brand” FuckJerry. The company—also involved with the disastrous public event/documentary bait that was the Fyre Festival—operates largely by stealing content from comedians on social media and reposting it on Instagram, and has received large amounts of money for sponsored posts from everybody from Burger King to Comedy Central. Wright’s #FuckFuckJerry campaign has been picking up serious traction lately, though, with a number of celebrity comics, including Billy Eichner, Jake Fogelnest, Paul Scheer, Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, and many more all pledging to unfollow the accounts and urging their followers to do their same. Still, a question looms. Wright’s campaign is getting things done, sure: But is it catchy enough?

Luckily, comedian/crooner Tim Heidecker is here to help. The Tim & Eric star has now made his own contribution to the cause: The #FuckFuckJerry theme song, which falls firmly into the niche of the various political songs Heidecker has released online over the last few years, and is perfect for any good anti-joke-thief singalongs.

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Catchy jingle or no, Wright’s work is having real-world impact: Just tonight, Comedy Central removed all of its ads from the FuckJerry account, and confirmed that it’ll no longer be working with the company for future campaigns, presumably because of the public attention that Wright and her followers have brought to bear.

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This Cult-Favorite Underwear Brand Is Running a Valentine's Sale on Amazon

David Archy Sale | Amazon
Graphic: Shep McAllister

David Archy might not be a household name yet, but they sell some of the most popular underwear and clothing basics on Amazon, and a whole bunch of it is on sale today, including other items like shirts, robes, and socks.

Don’t know where to start? Just trust me and get a three-pack of micro modal boxer briefs for $23, down from the usual $28. You won’t believe how soft they are.


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Art World Thriller Velvet Buzzsaw Owes its Existence, Improbably, to Superman Lives

Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in Velvet Buzzsaw.
Image: Netflix

The failure of Tim Burton’s Superman Lives is one of the most legendary flops in the film industry. It’s so big, its failure is still inspiring movies.

Among his early projects, Dan Gilroy, the writer and director of Velvet Buzzsaw, the striking Jake Gyllenhall thriller that will absolutely change how you see the art world, worked on Superman Lives with director Tim Burton and producer Jon Peters. After slaving over the film for over a year, it was, unceremoniously, cancelled. And in a recent interview with Polygon, Gilroy reveals what a profound effect that had on him and his career:

So in the ’90s, a million years ago, I spent a year and a half working on Superman Lives, the most epic debacle of all time. I worked on it for a year and a half, and one day, a day before shooting, Tim and I and the producer Jon Peters, walked into Warner Bros. offices, and they announced they were pulling the plug for economic reasons and other reasons. I remember just being devastated. I’d worked for a year and a half. This was going to be a massive film for me. I was so excited. So I drove down to Santa Monica, and I sat on the beach, and I was just trying to process this year and a half and I thought, Wow, I could have written all of those words on the beach in the sand, and the waves could have just washed them away. That’s pretty much the relevance of what I just went through.

Then I started to ponder, and I thought, ‘You know what, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter for me right now, because I worked as a writer and I grew as a writer, and it particularly does not matter for me moving forward, because I have to assume that this could happen again, and I have to make peace with the idea that, at a certain level, I’m working as a creative slash artist for myself. I have to find work that’s relevant to me, so that it transcends what the world thinks of it or if it ever gets seen, if ever.’

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That experience, then, set Gilroy on the career path that led him to making Nightcrawler and, now, Velvet Buzzsaw. He also reveals the more literal impact that experience had on his new film’s ending:

It certainly led me to Velvet Buzzsaw. The last image of the film, the credit sequence, is John Malkovich drawing on the beach as the waves are washing away the images. And those images are just as relevant, even though they’re about to be washed away. That sells at Sotheby’s for hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Velvet Buzzsaw is now streaming on Netflix. 

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Off-Duty TSA Officer Jumps to His Death at Orlando International Airport

Photo: John Raoux (AP)

A man who officials say was an off-duty Transportation Security Administration officer fell to his death from the balcony of the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Orlando International Airport on Saturday.

The incident affected flights and reportedly led to hours of delays. The airport said shortly before 3 p.m. that affected gates 70-129 had reopened but that several flights had been canceled and additional delays were “possible.”

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The Orlando Police Department said on Twitter the incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. ET., when a man in his 40s “jumped” from the hotel into the airport’s atrium area. He was reportedly transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The New York Times reported the worker had finished his shift at the airport shortly before the incident. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, however officials said the incident appeared to be a suicide. The TSA confirmed that the man was an off-duty officer.

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“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officer’s family, friends and everyone in our TSA family,” the agency said in a statement shared by its spokesperson Jenny Burke.

Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport General Manager Bruce McDonald told Gizmodo in a statement by email that the hotel is working with the authorities on their investigation.

“The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is a top priority,” McDonald said. “We are saddened by the event that occurred at our hotel and our thoughts go out to all who have been affected by this terrible situation.”

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Michael Bawol, who was reportedly present when the officer jumped, told the New York Times that he initially believed the man—who was positioned on the “outer ledge of the balcony”—may have been repairing something.

“At that moment he turned and faced the main hall, extended his arms to the side and let himself fall,” Bawol told the Times.

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The TSA said that some passengers were being rescreened following the incident after “several passengers scattered into the sterile area unscreened.” Trista Eaden, a traveler who was also present, told News 13 after hearing was she described as a “boom,” TSA agents “just told us to run, to just go through the screening.”

Video shared to Twitter shortly after 11 a.m. captured a massive crowd waiting for screening for what was reportedly hours, but the Times reported that operations were returning to normal just after noon.

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The Orlando Police Department advised anyone experiencing delays as a result of the incident to contact their airline directly.

This story is developing and may be updated throughout.

[New York Times]

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