Author: Andrew Morse


Trump says Apple’s Cook has promised ‘big, big, big’ US plants


Apple CEO Tim Cook listens to US President Donald Trump during an American Technology Council roundtable at the White House on June 19.

Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Donald Trump wants to make the iPhone American.

In interview Wednesday, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised to build three manufacturing facilities[1] in the US. The facilities would be “big plants, beautiful plants,” he told the paper. 

“He’s promised me three big plants — big, big, big,” Trump said, referring to Cook. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

Neither Apple nor the White House responded to a request for comment.

Trump made bringing manufacturing back to the US a signature element of his political campaign, one that resonated with voters in rust belt states. At one point, the president called on Americans to boycott Apple products because the company wouldn’t turn over cell phone data on a terrorist to authorities. He has also promised to make Apple start manufacturing its products in the US[2] instead of China. 

Boycott all Apple products until such time as Apple gives cellphone info to authorities regarding radical Islamic terrorist couple from Cal

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2016[3]

Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology[4] Group, which assembles iPhones for Apple in China, is already considering a facility in the US. The Journal reported on Monday that an announcement on a plant in Wisconsin could come sometime this week. 

In May, Cook said Apple planned a $1 billion fund[5] to help create manufacturing jobs in the US. 

Logging Out: Welcome to the crossroads of online life and the afterlife.[6]

Virtual reality 101: CNET tells you everything you need to know about VR.[7]


New Pepe comic planned because you can’t keep a good frog down


You can’t keep a good frog down.

Matt Furie/Fantagraphics

Pepe the Frog is kicking back to life.

Two months ago, fans mourned the gentle if juvenile comic book character after artist Matt Furie portrayed the amphibian in a casket. The one-page strip followed an eight-month effort to reclaim Pepe from white supremacists who had hijacked his image to promote hate online.

Now, Furie wants to bring the pot-and-pizza-loving slacker back to life with a Kickstarter campaign[1] that will reclaim “his status as a universal symbol for peace, love, and acceptance.” The campaign, which started on June 26, has already surpassed its $10,000 goal.

The Kickstarter appeal marks the latest twist in Pepe’s improbable evolution from stoner zine star to online hate emblem. The transformation, which at one point saw a civil rights group formally designate Pepe a hate symbol, underscores how difficult it is for artists to maintain control of their creations after they’re on the web.

“There’s something about interacting with a screen rather than actual humans in a room that’s really dehumanizing,” Furie said in an interview. “There is something about the anonymity of the internet that gives people the ability to express these darker interests.”

More from iHate.

Click to see more from iHate.

Aaron Robinson/CNET

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, Pepe became closely associated with the “alt-right,” a loosely knit movement of white nationalists and neo-Nazis who used the character to promote racism and anti-Semitism. As the movement grew more active online, Pepe was repurposed as a KKK member, a Nazi stormtrooper and, eventually, Adolf Hitler. At one point, Pepe’s catchphrase, “Feels good man,” was recast as “Kill Jews man.”

Furie, who says he lost licensing deals as the brouhaha over Pepe rose, is working with a lawyer to protect the character after he re-debuts. Still, he wants fans to feel connected to his art and doesn’t object to them modifying his work as long as it isn’t for hateful purposes.

“I’m not trying to limit anybody’s creativity and self-expression online,” he said.

Furie isn’t the only artist who has seen his work taken over online. Drawings by Ben Garrison[2], a political cartoonist, were doctored with anti-Semitic images to paint him as a neo-Nazi sympathizer. Google searches for Garrison would return the repurposed cartoons because his name had been left on the offensive versions. He’s been called “the internet’s most trolled cartoonist[3].”

Pepe was born in 2005 as a character in a zine called “Playtime,” which Furie designed in Microsoft Paint[4]. He later posted some of the comics, which became “Boy’s Club,” to his blog on MySpace[5].

“Boy’s Club” was far from controversial. The characters, all animals, ate, drank and played video games. The humor skewed toward toilet jokes.

By 2008, fans were posting snippets online. Soon, Pepe memes — wink-and-nudge jokes in the form of images — popped up on 4chan, Reddit, Tumblr and other social media sites. He was sometimes known as the “sad frog.”

Before long, Pepe went mainstream. In 2014, singer Katy Perry[6] tweeted a crying Pepe after landing jet-lagged in Australia. Later, Nicki Minaj[7] posted a twerking Pepe to Instagram.

That prompted a backlash among original fans, who circulated disturbing memes designed to make Pepe less appealing. As the memes got more outlandish, white supremacists and anti-Semites adopted Pepe. It wasn’t long until a swastika-tatted Pepe and a Pepe with nooses began circulating on the internet.


Pepe and his roommates on the cover of “Boy’s Club.”

Matt Furie

They were only the beginning of Pepe’s life as a political figure.

On Oct. 13, 2015, Donald Trump tweeted a meme of himself as Pepe[8] as he began his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. During the campaign, a Trump adviser and one of the candidate’s sons posted a parody of a movie poster for “The Expendables[9]” that included Pepe bearing a signature Trump combover.

Hillary Clinton’s organization responded with an FAQ explaining Pepe was a symbol of racists. “Pepe’s been almost entirely co-opted by the white supremacists who call themselves the ‘alt-right,'” the article read[10].

Shortly after, the Anti-Defamation League added Pepe[11] to a database[12] of hate symbols, placing the cartoon frog in the company of SS lightning bolts and the Nazi Party flag.

Furie’s editor, Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics Books, said the character’s hijacking had been difficult for the artist, particularly after the ADL added Pepe to its database. Furie, he said, worried his name would always be associated with a hate symbol.

“Matt was deeply, deeply disturbed by it,” Reynolds said.

The ADL says Pepe is an unprecedented addition to its database because unlike other entries the copyright-protected character has a known creator. The ADL initially removed Furie’s name from the entry at his request and re-introduced it after the organization and artist began working to rescue the character with a #SavePepe[13] hashtag campaign. (The hashtag is also being used in the new Kickstarter project.)

Pepe’s use didn’t end after the election.

In January, the Russian Embassy in the UK tweeted a Pepe[14] image after the British prime minister was asked to encourage then President-elect Trump to distance himself from Russia. White nationalist Richard Spencer, who used a frog emoji in his Twitter handle, was punched in the face while explaining the meaning of a Pepe pin[15] to a TV crew shortly after Trump’s inauguration.

In June, Apple banned a game featuring Pepe[16] from its App Store for containing “objectionable content.”

Furie, who was recently named to Time magazine’s list of most influential people on the internet[17], said he might draw inspiration from the experience and incorporate it into the new comic, which will run about 40 pages and maintain “the spirit of the original ‘Boy’s Club.'”

“These guys make great cartoon villains,” he said of the white nationalists who co-opted Pepe. “They sound like cartoonish evil villains.”


6 GIFs that show you the internet’s nasty side

Logging Out: Welcome to the crossroads of online life and the afterlife.[18]

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.[19]


  1. ^ Kickstarter campaign (
  2. ^ Ben Garrison (
  3. ^ the internet’s most trolled cartoonist (
  4. ^ which Furie designed in Microsoft Paint (
  5. ^ on MySpace (
  6. ^ Katy Perry (
  7. ^ Nicki Minaj (
  8. ^ Donald Trump tweeted a meme of himself as Pepe (
  9. ^ The Expendables (
  10. ^ the article read (
  11. ^ added Pepe (
  12. ^ database (
  13. ^ #SavePepe (
  14. ^ tweeted a Pepe (
  15. ^ the meaning of a Pepe pin (
  16. ^ Apple banned a game featuring Pepe (
  17. ^ Time magazine’s list of most influential people on the internet (
  18. ^ Logging Out (
  19. ^ Tech Enabled (

Forbes confirms that Bill Gates is still richer than you


They’re worth $165.1 billion. 

Monica Schipper / Getty

Congratulations Bill Gates[1]. You’re a wealth triple threat.

The Microsoft co-founder topped Forbes magazine’s annual state-by-state list of American moneybags[2], ranking as the richest man in his home state of Washington, as well as the country and the world. His total worth: a cool $88.9 billion.

Unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley types made more than cameo appearances on the who’s who of fat cats. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg[3] won first place in California with a worth of $62.4 billion, $7 billion more than Oracle’s Larry Ellison[4]. Zuck, at 33, was the youngest person on the list and the third wealthiest person in the country. (Nebraska’s Warren Buffett, who’s worth $76.2 billion from Berkshire Hathaway, was the country’s second wealthiest individual.)

Charles Ergen, the co-founder of Dish, topped Colorado with a fortune of $18.8 billion. (Ergen’s net worth grew faster than any other person on the list, according to Forbes, rising 41 percent from the previous year[5].) North Carolina’s James Goodnight, a founder of business software maker SAS, was worth $10.1 billion. And Pierre Omidyar, a founder of eBay, was Hawaii’s richest person and the state’s sole billionaire with a net worth of $8.9 billion. 

The 52 folks (there were ties in two states) on the list had a combined worth of $747 billion. 

Whether the list will see a shakeup next year remains an open question. Washington state’s Jeff Bezos[6] — you might remember him from such hits as[7] and The Washington Post — has a net worth of $83.3 billion. If Amazon shares continue their rise, he might over take Gates[8].

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.[9]

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.[10]


  1. ^ Bill Gates (
  2. ^ topped Forbes magazine’s annual state-by-state list of American moneybags (
  3. ^ Mark Zuckerberg (
  4. ^ Larry Ellison (
  5. ^ rising 41 percent from the previous year (
  6. ^ Jeff Bezos (
  7. ^ (
  8. ^ Gates (
  9. ^ Tech Enabled (
  10. ^ Batteries Not Included (

AI group gets bigger as Sony, Intel, eBay and others join

Resistance is futile.
Getty Images
The AI club just got bigger.
The Partnership on AI, a nonprofit group researching the uses of artificial intelligence, said Tuesday it was welcoming 22 new members[1]. Eight of the new members are for-profit companies…


Please, Tom Brady, don’t appear on the cover of Madden NFL 18

The G.O.A.T. will have his day.
Jamie O’Connell/EA Sports
Dear Tom Brady,
As a die-hard New England Patriots fan, I implore you to reconsider your decision to appear on the cover of EA Sports Madden NFL 18[1]. Please know, I’m thinking broadly about th…

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