If you must interview Sean Spicer about his new book, the BBC has shown how to do it.

Hey! Remember Sean Spicer? He just wrote a book.

Spicer was President Donald Trump's first press secretary before resigning just 182 days into the administration. He became a bit notorious for his poor word choices (he accidentally called concentration camps "Holocaust centers") and easily debunked lies (such as his claim that the crowd at Trump's inauguration was the "largest audience to witness an inauguration, period" or the time he defended Trump's voter fraud claims by citing a study's non-existent conclusion).

Since his time in the White House, news networks dashed Spicer's hopes of landing a high-paying contributor role, he completed a Harvard Fellowship that led one student to publicly call for the end of the program in its current form, he showed up at the Emmys for a tongue-in-cheek joke about his crowd size lie, and has started developing his own TV talk show to pitch to networks.


He's been a busy guy, which maybe explains why his book didn't quite get the care it needed, based on some early reviews.

Sean Spicer posing with wax figures of Melania and Donald Trump, which is somehow not the weirdest thing he's done since resigning. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds.

Media figures could press Spicer on so much during his book tour. But for the most part, they haven't.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly allowed Spicer to sidestep a tricky question about Paul Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign for three months during the summer of 2016 and is credited with selecting Mike Pence as Trump's running mate. When it started to become clear that Manafort — who was indicted on a number of charges — was about to find himself in some legal hot water, Spicer claimed that Manafort "played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time." Despite this being untrue, Kelly pivoted away from Manafort-related questions as Spicer stumbled.

Meanwhile, NBC's Megyn Kelly began her Spicer interview with a laugh at Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of him on SNL and later allowed him to wriggle his way out of questions on his crowd-size lie.

Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery asked, "How important is the book to changing the perception and the legacy that you have right now?" This allowed Spicer the chance to play up its importance as a "behind-the-scenes" look at the Trump White House.

Of the three, Kelly's interview was probably the hardest-hitting, which is ... not great.

Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images.

American journalists could learn a lot from how BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis handled her interview with Spicer.

Spicer tried to brush off a question about his crowd-size claim. But unlike other interviewers, who let Spicer downplay its importance, Maitlis wasn't having it.

"It was the start of the most corrosive culture," Maitlis fired back. "You played with the truth. You led us down a dangerous path. You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies."

In continuing to press the issue, Maitlis was able to get a bit of actual news out of Spicer: He seemed to believe that because the campaign felt like it had been treated unfairly by the press, that telling a lie — though he refuses to admit it's a lie — was justified.

Spicer explained his reasoning:

"We had faced a press corps that was constantly undermining our ability in the campaign to run an effective ground game, an effective data operation. Everyone was saying 'Yours isn't good enough. Hillary Clinton's running a better operation, is a better candidate and campaign. There's no way that you can compete with her.' Time and time again, through the campaign, we heard that. Then we heard similar kind of things during the transition. ... And so, if you constantly feel under attack, then you feel at some point you need to respond and say 'Enough of this.' And when you hear the president and other supporters constantly see this narrative where we are being maligned and undermined and maligned in terms of the validity of our thing, it wears on you."

That's a pretty big admission! Deciding whether or not a government official should tell the truth shouldn't depend on whether or not they're happy with "the narrative" they see playing out in the media.

Maitlis is right — that is a dangerous path, and it's not something that should be rewarded with lucrative book deals and TV shows.

Spicer at a January 2017 press conference. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Public officials don't get to write and re-write their own history — or at least they shouldn't.

Whether it's Spicer doing chummy interviews to promote his book, Tom DeLay bouncing back from a money-laundering scandal to appear on "Dancing With the Stars," or any of the many other examples of times where the public is asked to more or less forget the lasting effects politicians have on our lives, this really isn't something we have to do as a culture.

There's no law that says that every former administration official is entitled to a nationally televised book tour nor that they're even entitled to a book or TV show at all.

Serving in government is just that: service. In Spicer's case, from that lie on his first day in the job and on, it was a disservice. If journalists must interview Spicer about his new book, they should look to Maitlis and the BBC for how to best serve their audiences.

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other time, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

RELATED: Permit denied for 'straight pride' parade in California

If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

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There are reasonable arguments to be had on all sides of America's debates about guns.

Then there are NRA lobbyists.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer spoke to state economists last week to explain why a proposed assault weapons ban would devastate gun manufacturers in the state. The proposed amendment, which is being led by the aunt of a student killed in the Parkland school shooting, would ban the future sale of assault rifles in Florida and mandate that current owners either register their guns with the state or give them up.

The back and forth between those proposing and opposing the amendment appears to be a pretty typical gun legislation debate. Only this time, the NRA lobbyist pulled out one of the most bizarre arguments I've seen yet.

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Democracy


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

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Democracy
via PixaBay

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has brought a lot of attention to the idea of implementing a universal basic income on America. His "freedom dividend" would pay every American $1,000 a month to spend as they choose.

In addition to helping Americans deal with a future in which the labor market will be upended by automation, this basic income could allow Americans to rethink what we see as work and nurture what Yang calls a "human-centered" economy.

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