Three share FedEx St. Jude lead

Chez Reavie fired a 5-under-par 65 in the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., on Friday and is tied for the lead with Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa at 9-under 131.

The Execs Bashing Trump’s Paris Withdrawal Are Also Funding Climate-Change Deniers

As soon as President Donald Trump announced last week that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, a flurry of top executives issued statements criticizing the decision as bad for the planet, business and America?s international standing.

But many of those same CEOs have supported ? through either corporate or personal giving ? Republican candidates who espouse climate-change denial. HuffPost asked 15 high-profile executives who publicly denounced the president?s decision if they would stop funding such Republicans deniers. All 15 either declined to commit, or did not respond to the question.

HuffPost asked Tim Cook of Apple, Bob Iger of Disney, Darren Woods of Exxon Mobil, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Art Peck of Gap, Jeff Immelt of GE, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Sundar Pichai of Google, Mark Parker of Nike, Brad Smith of Microsoft, Indra Nooyi of Pepsi, Marc Benioff of Salesforce and Elon Musk of Tesla about the fundamental conflict between their statements and political giving.

These executives and their companies have collectively given millions of dollars to support members of the only major political party in world that makes denying the scientific consensus on manmade global warming a platform issue.

For some of the companies, the disparity between public stances on climate and political donations is particularly glaring.

In March, Exxon Mobil urged the White House to stay in the Paris Agreement, two months after adding a climate scientist to its board of directors. But the oil giant for years has been the fourth-biggest corporate donor to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who so vehemently rejects the science behind global warming that he once brought a snowball to the Senate floor to prove a point. The firm ? which for decades funded a Big Tobacco-style disinformation campaign to undermine evidence that burning fossil fuels caused climate change ? continued to pay millions to groups that deny global warming as recently as last year.  

Facebook?s political giving tells a different story than its founder and CEO?s denunciation of Trump?s decision. In the 2016 election cycle, Facebook?s political action committee contributed $146,500 to Republican U.S. House members, compared with $139,500 to Democratic members. In the Senate, where Democrats had a credible shot at retaking the chamber, the PAC gave $140,500 to Republican senators, compared with $90,500 for Democrats.

A spokesman for Facebook referred HuffPost to a section of the company?s code of conduct stating that ?Facebook PAC considers whether an individual candidate?s policy stances are consistent with Facebook?s public policy agenda and business interests, particularly the individual?s commitment to fostering innovation and an open Internet,? as well as the politician?s rank in his or her party or committee.

Facebook gave to 37 Republican senators. Regardless of the views of these individual senators, Republican control of the Senate enables Trump to confirm climate change-skeptical appointees to key cabinet positions and block any major climate change policy action.

Of JPMorgan Chase?s $1,337,951 in campaign contributions last year, $441,333 went to Republican candidates ? but the bank channeled over 67 percent of its donations to political action committees to right-leaning groups. The company cut off direct financing to new coal mines last year, but so far has not adopted new rules to curtail funding to coal-fired power plants and existing mines. 

PepsiCo has been inching away from climate science deniers since 2012, when the food and beverage behemoth cut off funding to groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the right-wing Heartland Institute. Yet nearly half of Pepsi?s political giving from its corporate PAC in 2016 went to foes of former President Barack Obama?s climate agenda, a Reuters analysis found last September.

In some cases, the companies that have donated heavily to Democrats have gone out of their way to signal from the top that they support Republicans. For example, Apple employees donated just $181,369 of their total $1,265,383 in campaign contributions last year to Republicans, according to public data collated by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Apple?s CEO Tim Cook, meanwhile, personally hosted a fundraiser for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Disney CEO Bog Iger and Tesla CEO Elon Musk both withdrew from Trump?s business advisory council over their disagreement with the president?s decision on the Paris Agreement.

JP Morgan?s Jamie Dimon took a different tack and said he would continue to serve on the president?s advisory group. ?I absolutely disagree with the Administration on this issue,? Dimon told CNBC last week. ?But we have a responsibility to engage our elected officials to work constructively and advocate for policies that improve people?s lives and protect our environment.?

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14 Wedding Signs For Dogs That Are Just Plain Paw-some

For dog-obsessed brides and grooms, having your pup present on the big day is pretty much non-negotiable.

Whether your fur baby is posing for pics, playing the role of ring bearer or flower girl or just attending as an honored guest, you might as well deck him or her out in one of the ridiculously cute wedding signs below: 

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Cosby Is Not O.J.

It is tempting to compare the Bill Cosby trial to the O.J. Simpson trial. And more than a few have. Cosby is a mega celebrity. He?s been practically a household name for decades. He?s got a lot of money. And before his fall and disgrace, he was much admired, and lauded, by millions as a man who embodied the best in fatherhood and family. This is where the similarity with Simpson ends, in and out of court. There was allure and glamor to Simpson?s film and celebrated football career. But he didn?t come close to attaining the wealth and universal fame and admiration the public had for Cosby.

It was really the heavy-duty charges and their sensationalism that gripped the media and much of the public in the Simpson case for months on end. He was charged with double murder; and, one of the victims was his estranged wife; his white estranged wife. It was this clash of race and gender that insured that the case would be the subject of endless debate and chatter. It was the first time that a major celebrity figure had faced a double murder charge, a capital crime. This further raised both the legal and the media stakes in the case.

The TV cameras in the court captured the legal wrangling and drama in the case. This gave millions their first real glimpse into the often arcane, and inner workings of the court system. Simpson?s attorneys, most notably, Johnnie Cochran, had already made names for themselves in other high-profile cases before the Simpson trial.

The Cosby trial will come and go and the public will quickly move on. Cosby is not O.J.

But the trial now transformed Cochran, and the other principal legal combatants, into major media celebrities almost overnight. It also turned the slow drift of much of the mainstream media toward tabloid sleaze sensationalism into a headlong rush. Staid mainstream publications that in times past would have back-paged a murder case, even a celebrity criminal case, morphed into the National Enquirer, Star and the legion of other tabloids. A gaggle of daytime gossipy talk shows has since successfully parlayed innuendo, rumor, half-truths and outright lies into hugely profitable empires and ratings bonanzas. Cochran also understood that attorney star power had colossal value in giving him the ability to spin, massage, and message the defense?s case to give the defense an edge. His seemingly impromptu press conferences outside of court were masterpieces in media spin.

The Simpson case drug on so long that it spun off yet another growth industry. An array of legal and media pundits became familiar faces on nightly TV, dissecting, debating, and endlessly speculating on every racial and legal tidbit of the case. Then there was the racial divide. The Simpson case institutionalized that term. It became the requisite standard that packs of pollsters, commentators, and researchers would use to quantify and analyze everything from trials to political campaigns in which a racial angle could be gleaned. The Simpson case didn?t die after his acquittal. The mere mention of his trial two decades later still generates fierce debate over his guilt or innocence. A 2017 academy award winning documentary stirred just as much debate over Simpson?s guilt or innocence, and the racial passions that the case ignited, as if it was yesterday.

The Cosby case won?t come close to matching that. He is charged with sexual assault. This is not a minor charge, and he has drawn the righteous wrath and condemnation of women?s groups, and sexual abuse victims. But it?s not double murder, with one of the victims, a white woman. Thus, the case has not stirred anywhere near the level of public fascination and rage as in the Simpson case. Cosby was not jailed for months before the trial as Simpson was. His pockets were deep enough to string the start of his trial out for more than a year. During that time, he stayed virtually invisible from the media and the public eye. His legal team is a crack team. But they do not have the celebrity, and name recognition cachet that Simpson?s attorneys had. His trial venue is in Pittsburgh, which is in Allegheny County. The location does not have the star struck, mediagenic allure of Los Angeles.

The O.J. case was the complete social, racial, celebrity, gender, and tabloid package. The murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman allegedly by O.J. heightened racial tensions, as well as public awareness about domestic violence. It stirred fury against the double standard of wealth and celebrity privilege in the legal system. It elevated celebrity murder cases to media tabloid sensationalism. And, it sparks furious debate about these issues, and Simpson?s guilt or innocence, decades later. The Cosby trial will do none of those things. It will come and go and the public will quickly move on. Cosby is not O.J.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is author of Cosby: The Clash of Race, Sex and Celebrity (Amazon Kindle). He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.

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Two ‘Saturday Night Live’ Writers Muse On The Show’s Polarizing Political Comedy

Having just concluded a season that produced banner ratings, ?Saturday Night Live? remains a political firebrand unlike any other institution. Forty-two years into its existence, the sketch-comedy staple has benefitted from the divisive election of Donald Trump, even after the show?s controversial choice to have him host an episode mid-campaign. 

Of course, current-events fodder has always been a key part of the ?SNL? brand. What?s changed is the speed at which news travels and the country?s temperament toward establishments of power.

Two writers ?Tim Herlihy (1993-2000) and Bryan Tucker (2005-present) ? are scheduled to discuss the staff?s creative process during a panel at this week?s Greenwich International Film Festival. Ahead of the event, HuffPost hopped on the phone with each to reflect on their tenures at the show and what it was like to write during different presidential elections. Below are the highlights, edited for length and clarity.

On approaching a comparatively mild election, like Bob Dole competing against an incumbent Bill Clinton, versus a polarizing one, like Trump versus Hillary Clinton:

Tim Herlihy, an ?SNL? writer during the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections: There is no overarching planning. There were never any meetings like, ?How are we going to tackle this?? Basically it was pretty simple. We had Phil Hartman playing Bill Clinton as an insincere philanderer. We didn?t get into the weeds on welfare reform or anything like that. It was a classic, great, Ted Baxter?level character. And then when Darrell Hammond took over the role, he did it a different way. He?s such a great mimic and works so hard and really wants to make it uncanny, but he does have that same go-for-the-gusto that Phil had. And then with Bob Dole, it was very much organic in terms of what Norm Macdonald came up with, and he basically did ?cranky old man.? We found infinite entertaining varieties of the insincere philanderer versus the cranky old man, and people loved it.

Bryan Tucker, an ?SNL? writer during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections: There?s very little pre-planned strategy about the whole thing. There?s not necessarily a meeting where we say we need to tackle these kinds of subjects. I guess we all understand that each election year is going to be important for ?SNL? because that?s one time where the whole country is watching the same thing, and if we can parody that thing, then we can gain an audience and gain a lot of traction from that. This election was just exceptional because so many people were paying attention to it, and because passions were so deep and there were just a lot of characters, specifically Donald Trump being the biggest character of them all. I think we got a taste of Trump last season in the primaries when we had Darrell Hammond and Taran Killam playing him. But over the summer, it was understood that this was going to be more watched and more people would care about it than in previous elections. I think that was Lorne Michaels? motivation in asking Alec Baldwin to consider it. We wanted to open the season with a big splash, but there was an instinct, specifically by Lorne, that Alec had the right temperament and knew how to play that kind of character in a funny way.

On inviting presidential candidate Trump to host the show in 2015:

TH: We?ve had presidential candidates on many times. Donald Trump hosted a year before the election. He was technically a candidate, but he was a joke candidate. I wasn?t there and I didn?t see the whole show, but I assume it was sort of like the times he hosted before. He?s a public figure, and nobody thought there was a prayer of him being elected at that point. If we had had somebody host the show after they?d already received the nomination, I would think that would be extraordinarily strange, more for the candidate than for us, because we?re going to try to get them to do crazy stuff, and normally a candidate doesn?t want to do anything that could potentially get them in trouble. I worked with politicians there, and the difference between the ones who were up for election and the ones who were either retired or in safe seats, in terms of their whole outlook, was tremendous.

BT: Oh, man. It?s so loaded. One thing that struck me was, when other candidates come to the show, like Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Al Gore or Mike Huckabee, they bring at least one ? and sometimes two or three ? other people to talk to us and vet the material that we give them. Trump came alone. He had a BlackBerry and he had his security guy outside the door, and that?s about all. When we would present him an idea, he would just go from his gut and say, ?I like that? or ?I don?t like that.? Sometimes we could persuade him. Sometimes he would lean out of the door and ask his security guy, ?Do you think this is funny? Do you think this is a good idea?? But that was, to me, an insight into him that I hadn?t gotten before: He really makes decisions by himself, and although he had people he was talking to throughout the week, there was very little back-and-forth with other people.

On the sketch Trump didn?t want to do:

BT: We did do a dress-rehearsal sketch where he was the Giving Tree, and the Giving Tree was giving fruit to a boy. And eventually the Giving Tree got completely chopped down and was a stump, and Trump was a neighboring tree saying, ?You?re a sucker, you?re getting played, you should not be giving things to these people.? And Trump had to stand in a tree with his face looking out of the hole of this tree, and he did not like that. I don?t think he enjoyed looking like a tree. He was not into it and it showed, and it did not get a lot of laughs.

On writing comedy for a politically divided audience:

TH: I feel bad for the guys today because it felt like when we were doing it, the Dole-Clinton election seemed to be not terribly contentious. In retrospect, Bush-Gore ? before the ending, obviously ? was certainly not as crazy polarizing and contentious as this. But we never felt that we handled it a certain way. Lorne definitely wanted to do a political sketch every week during the season, or definitely felt like we should make a comment, but it didn?t have to dominate the show. And it wasn?t demanded ? maybe a little during the Monica Lewinsky thing, but it didn?t feel like, ?You better show us your stuff!? It felt like that started with Sarah Palin. Now, if they did a Trump-less show, people would go bananas. That?s a lot of pressure to have [political material]. I don?t know how this relates to ?SNL,? but Jimmy Fallon seemed to get in trouble because he wasn?t mean enough to Trump. And the fact that you now have to worry about that, too ? you have to make fun of with a certain viewpoint ? it just seems like the fact that they pulled off a great, historically rated season is incredible.

BT: When someone?s a candidate, we try our best to parody both sides because we understand that both sides have a shot to win, especially this year. We spent a lot of time and effort trying to develop Hillary Clinton, and Kate McKinnon was a huge part of that. Looking at the polls, we assumed she was going to win, so we had planned for that character to be around for a while. But once the candidate is elected, in this case Trump, there?s very little attention paid to the opposition. You know, we don?t see Chuck Schumer in the news nearly as much. Once that person is in charge, and once that person is the voice of authority for our country, one of our jobs is to poke fun at authority. When he?s inaugurated, it opens up how much we might want to take shots at that person. Before, we?re trying to be a big tent. Our show is always trying to be a big tent, but before, we?re making a very concerned effort to parody both sides because America is paying attention so much to both sides. But afterwards, when one side has so much power and one side has so little, we go after the people who have that power. We punch up.

TH: I?ve always thought ? and I learned this early on, not just with ?SNL,? but with my film work ? you gotta do your thing. You can?t chase an audience. You look at Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, and you see, well, Jimmy?s winning with the good demographics but Colbert has the overall rating and seems like he?s better approved of on Twitter. It?s just so complicated at this point, and there?s so many types of winning that even if you wanted to be someone who rode the trends and did all the right things and pushed all the right buttons, it?s too complicated. It forces you to be true to yourself.

On responding to the country?s heightened awareness of racial politics:

BT: I think ?SNL? is a little more attuned to racial and cultural issues, but that?s more of a reflection of the whole country. I just think America, and entertainment in general, is becoming more like that. I?m not sure we could have done it when I first started, but I wrote for Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock, and those are the kinds of things I gravitate to. In my first year, I would write Kenan-as-Al-Sharpton sketches. Those would get on here and there, and that was gratifying because I?m not sure a lot of white America knew Al Sharpton. But I do think, in general, the country ? and our show, as well ? has been a little bit cognizant of presenting those diverse viewpoints.

On producing an episode the week after the 2016 election, and having Dave Chapelle host after years away from the spotlight:

BT: It was super gratifying because I think the show came out really well. It was an incredibly hard week because that was the week of the election. Our normal writing night is Tuesday night ? that?s when everything gets written for the show, and we pick things on Wednesday. So Tuesday night, everyone was looking at the election, and not only were we distracted ? I think a lot of us were stunned with the result, and then Wednesday a lot of people weren?t feeling very funny. As a result, a lot of the things that were read were not very good, frankly. That was disappointing because Chapelle had made this huge risk and huge commitment. He hadn?t been on mainstream television in 10 years. On Wednesday, after all our sketches were read, we felt pretty bad. But we spent the next two or three days rewriting. That election-night sketch was rewritten several times to reflect people?s moods. And eventually we pulled out what I think is one of our better shows of the season. The dress rehearsal was not great. One of the great things about ?SNL? is you can write and rewrite and rewrite up until the last minute, and luckily things all came together, which was really nice. Chapelle had come a few weeks prior, and I was one of the few friendly faces he knew because I had written for ?Chapelle?s Show.? I told him personally, ?We?ll do everything we can to make this show great, and I will work very hard to make sure we write things that are in your voice.? I was very gratified when he went out and did that killer monologue, which he wrote all himself. We had other pieces in the show that also felt like him, and also did really well, and reflected the mood of the country that week.  

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Cortana is a virtual assistant created by Microsoft for its windows 10 platform virtual assistant. Cortana has been a very responsive artificial intelligence voiced by Getting rid of lice in South Jersey is easy, but it is the head lice eggs treatment Jen Taylor. This voice assistant has been many times compared with the Apple’s voice assistant named Siri and has been in many ways more accurate and responsive. Cortana has been sometimes found to crack jokes on demand.

The Supreme Court Just Nixed A Rule That Made It Easier To Hold Cops Liable

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a legal rule that gave victims of police brutality in one part of the country a better chance of holding officers accountable in court over civil rights violations.

Known as the ?provocation rule,? it was confined to the nine states covered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which last year upheld a $4 million verdict against a pair of Los Angeles officers who broke into the shack of a homeless couple without a warrant and nearly killed them.

The appeals court in the case agreed with a lower court that found the two sheriff deputies ?provoked? one of the victims, Angel Mendez, who was startled by the officers? sudden entry. Mendez reached for the BB rifle he kept by his bedside to ward off intruders, but the officers pulled the triggers of their own guns first ? firing fifteen rounds at Mendez and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer, who was pregnant at the time.

Both survived to tell the tale of the 2010 confrontation and later sued in federal court, which conducted a trial that concluded the two officers violated the couple?s Fourth Amendment rights by barging into their residence.

That court and the 9th Circuit agreed that the shooting itself was ?reasonable? under the leading Supreme Court precedent for excessive force cases, Graham v. Connor, which largely shields the police from liability. But because of the ruling that the officers unlawfully entered the shack in the first place, that independent provocation allowed the victims to recover for the near-fatal chain of events that followed.

In a unanimous decision written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court rejected the provocation doctrine as ?incompatible with our excessive force jurisprudence,? including the Graham case, which for decades has set a high bar for holding law officers civilly liable in court.

The provocation rule?s ?fundamental flaw is that it uses another constitutional violation to manufacture an excessive force claim where one would not otherwise exist,? wrote Alito. He added that the rule ?permits excessive force claims that cannot succeed on their own terms.?

Alito disputed the lower courts? conclusion that the deputies? failure to obtain a warrant and their later intrusion into the Mendezes? home without announcing themselves ?in some sense set the table? for the confrontation that almost killed them. (Angel Mendez?s right leg was amputated below the knee as a result of the incident.)

?That is wrong,? Alito wrote in the 11-page decision, which was joined by every member of the court except Neil Gorsuch, who didn?t participate in the case because he wasn?t yet a justice when his colleagues heard it in March. ?The framework for analyzing excessive force claims is set out in Graham. If there is no excessive force claim under Graham, there is no excessive force claim at all.?

Despite Alito?s tone ? and the nixing of the provocation rule ? the language of the ruling is modest and left the door open for the 9th Circuit to reassess the facts of the case under a theory of ?proximate cause.? Under that analysis, the victims might be able to win if they can prove their injuries were the foreseeable result of the officers? warrantless entry and the shooting that ensued.

For the Mendezes, who are now married, the ruling will mean more litigation and delays before they might obtain relief. But their lawyer, Leonard Feldman, is hopeful the case remains winnable.

?We are of course disappointed that the Supreme Court did not uphold the Ninth Circuit?s ruling,? Feldman said in an email, ?but the court left open significant issues and we are optimistic that the Ninth Circuit will rule that the defendants are liable to the Mendezes again.?

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The Viral Swimsuit Moms Are Back To Take On Traveling With Kids

The funny ladies behind the web series ?#IMomSoHard,? are back with another hilarious video ? this time tackling the nightmare of flying with kids.

?Your youngest has to be 5 before there is an expectation of travel, so everybody just has to come to you,? co-host Kristin Hensley declares in the video.

The other funny mom, Jen Smedley, then points out the problems with baby-changing stations in airports and on planes. That?s when things get really wacky…

The video has been viewed almost 1 million times. Many parents shared their own air travel experiences in the comments section.

Good luck out there (er … up there!), parents!

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‘Hollywood Medium’ Tyler Henry Brings Nico Tortorella To Tears

?Younger? fans will get a look at a different side of Nico Tortorella on Wednesday?s episode of ?Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry.? 

In the video above, Tortorella, 28, tears up when Henry, who is billed as a ?clairvoyant medium,? appears to connect him with his grandfather, Lou. It?s an understandably emotional moment for the actor. 

?I was only two years old when he passed, so I didn?t know him on a personal level,? Tortorella says in the clip. ?He?s always been such a staple of the family story, so his love and his legacy lives on.? 

Henry, who is gay, spoke at length about his abilities in a 2015 interview with Out magazine. ?Primarily I?m a clairvoyant so I receive information visually, but I also pick up on physical sensations,? he said. ?Those images are primarily mental so I see them in my mind?s eye. They?ll just be quick little flashes of an image, symbol, face or person, but I do find that there are occasions where I will physically and visually see somebody.?

Previous guests on ?Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry? have included Boy George and Margaret Cho

Don?t miss Tortorella?s full appearance on ?Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry? Wednesday on E! 

Don?t miss the latest (and greatest) in LGBTQ entertainment! Subscribe to the Queer Voices newsletter.    

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Free The Principal!

Can principals be better leaders if they have more time to focus on instruction? The Washington, D.C., schools are adding managers to handle operations and logistics.

Celebrities Mourn Gregg Allman After News Of His Death

News of Gregg Allman?s death was met with an outpouring of grief on Saturday. 

The legendary musician ?passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia,? according to a statement on Allman?s official website, which noted his family planned on releasing their own statement soon. ?Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.?

Celebrities and friends, including Allman?s ex-wife Cher, took to social media to remember the singer:   

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Robert Mueller’s Russia-Trump Probe May Force Congress To Pump The Brakes

WASHINGTON ? Robert Mueller?s special counsel investigation of potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government will hold up congressional probes that were looking into whether Trump affiliates colluded with foreign entities to interfere with the 2016 election, a letter from the FBI indicated on Thursday.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had requested a copy of memos that former FBI Director James Comey reportedly made to memorialize conversations with President Donald Trump. One memo, first reported by The New York Times, allegedly indicated that Trump asked Comey to stop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey was fired on May 9.

But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week named Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to lead the investigation, and the FBI told Chaffetz on Thursday that it couldn?t immediately provide a copy of Comey?s memos.  

?In light of this development and other considerations, we are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated,? Gregory Brower, assistant director of the FBI?s Office of Congressional Affairs, wrote in a letter Thursday. 

But Chaffetz said in a separate letter on Thursday that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has ?its own, Constitutionally-based prerogative to conduct investigations.? While the committee did not want to interfere or impede Mueller?s investigation, Chaffetz wrote, the congressional probe would ?complement the work? of the special counsel.

?Whereas the Special Counsel is conducting a criminal or counterintelligence investigation that will occur largely behind closed doors, the Committee?s work will shed light on matters of high public interest, regardless of whether there is evidence of criminal conduct,? Chaffetz wrote. ?The focus of the Committee?s investigation is the independence of the FBI, including conversations between the President and Comey and the process by which Comey was removed from his role as director. The records being withheld are central to those questions, even more so in light of Comey?s decision not to testify before the Committee at this time.?

Chaffetz?s letter stated that Rosenstein told members of Congress last week that Mueller?s investigation ?should not impede the ongoing congressional probes? and that Rosenstein requested congressional investigators coordinate efforts with the Department of Justice.

Trump has said he had already made up his mind to fire Comey before Rosenstein wrote a memo justifying Comey?s firing for his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?s emails, and Trump said he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he made the decision to fire the FBI director.

Chaffetz said he is ?seeking to better understand Comey?s communications with the White House and Attorney General in such a way that does not implicate the Special Counsel?s work.?

Meanwhile, Mueller has established his office at the Patrick Henry Building at Sixth and D streets Northwest in Washington, a location near D.C.?s federal courthouse that is already home to many Justice Department employees.

Lee Lofthus, who has served as DOJ?s assistant attorney general for administration since 2006, told reporters earlier this week that Mueller?s office was ?up and running,? though its total staff size has not been determined. Lofthus said the special counsel will get its budget from a ?permanent, indefinite appropriation? fund. 

?Basically, it doesn?t require us to go up to the Hill with a budget request,? he said. ?It basically is an appropriation available if you have something like a special counsel, to make sure that the thing gets funded.?

Lofthus said DOJ would ?make sure that the special counsel gets the money it needs.? 

Here?s the FBI?s letter to Chaffetz:

Here?s Chaffetz?s full response:



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This Is What ‘Star Wars’ Hyperspace Would Actually Look Like

In the ?Star Wars? universe, jumping into hyperspace is illustrated by stars turning to streaks that whizz past as a ship blows right by the speed of light.

While logistically impossible for humans to achieve light speed, science tells us that if we somehow could travel at light speed, hyperspace would look drastically different.

In time for the 40th anniversary of the 1977 release of ?Star Wars,? Kyle Hill of Nerdist shows you why and how real hyperspace would be different. And what it would look like! Coooooooooooool!

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Trump’s United States Of Amnesia Threatens Everything We Once Knew As Fact

Down the Memory Hole
Cross-posted with

The Trump administration seems intent on tossing recent history down the memory hole. Admittedly, Americans have never been known for their strong grasp of facts about their past. Still, as we struggle to keep up with the constantly shifting explanations and pronouncements of the new administration, it becomes ever harder to remember the events of yesterday, let alone last week, or last month.

The Credibility Swamp

Trump and his spokespeople routinely substitute ?alternative facts? for what a friend of mine calls consensus reality, the world that most of us recognize. Whose inaugural crowd was bigger, Barack Obama?s or Donald Trump?s? It doesn?t matter what you remember, or even what?s in the written accounts or photographic record. What matters is what the administration now says happened then. In other words, for Trump and his people, history in any normal sense simply doesn?t exist, and that?s a danger for the rest of us. Think of the Trumpian past as a website that can be constantly updated to fit the needs of the present. You may believe you still remember something that used to be there, but it?s not there now. As it becomes increasingly harder to find, can you really trust your own memory?

In recent months, revisions of that past have sometimes come so blindingly fast that the present has simply been overrun, as was true with the firing of FBI Director James Comey. First, the president ordered up some brand new supporting documents from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein. These were designed to underpin his line that Comey was fired on their recommendation ? for being ?unfair? to Hillary Clinton. Then, even as his surrogates were out peddling that very story, Trump told NBC?s Lester Holt that, ?regardless of [Sessions? and Rosenstein?s] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.? And he explained why:

?And in fact when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, ?You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it?s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should?ve won.??

Which rationale for Comey?s departure is true? Both? Neither? What is ?truth? after all?

When the need to ask such questions occurs once in a while, it?s anomalous enough that we notice. We have time to remark that someone or various people in this story ? Sessions, Rosenstein, the surrogates, Trump himself ? are mistaken or even lying. Fortunately, in the case of Comey?s firing, journalists are still reporting the lies, but what happens if the rewrites of our recent history begin to come so fast that we stop keeping up?

During the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson was famously said to have a ?credibility gap.? People, including journalists, had stopped believing everything his administration said about one very important topic: the war. Trump doesn?t have a credibility gap; he?s tossed us into a credibility swamp. We?re all there together swimming in a mire of truth and lies, with the occasional firecracker thrown in just to see if we?re still paying attention.

If the age of Trump doesn?t end relatively soon, the daily effort to sort out what happened from what didn?t may eventually become too much for many of us. Memory fatigue may set in, and the whole project of keeping the past in focus shelved. In that case, we might very well start to give up the concept of citizenship altogether and decide instead to just get on with our own private uninsured, underpaid, and overworked lives.

In recent months, revisions of that past have sometimes come so blindingly fast that the present has simply been overrun…

Sometimes it?s easier to simply adjust to an ever-changing official version of reality than to keep up a constant, unrewarding struggle to remember. This was the phenomenon George Orwell described so unforgettably in his dystopian novel 1984. His hero, Winston Smith, becomes aware that the sole party that runs his country incessantly rewrites the past to its own liking and advantage. In fact, he realizes that ?the past not only changed, but changed continuously.?

Like most inhabitants of the mega-state of Oceania, it wasn?t that Smith couldn?t accept such a reality.  He could. What he couldn?t shake was a nightmarish sense ?that he had never clearly understood why? the Party needed to do it. ?The immediate advantages of falsifying the past were obvious, but the ultimate motive was mysterious? to him. That ?ultimate motive,? he eventually realizes, is to so destroy people?s hold on memory that they come to believe that truth genuinely is whatever the Party says it is.

In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable?

Does President Trump know what he?s doing? Does he know that, in a more chaotic fashion than Orwell?s ?Big Brother,? he?s grinding away at American memories, threatening to turn them into so much rubble? It?s hard to say; he appears to be incapable of either self-reflection or planning, indeed of acting in any way except on impulse. He does, however, seem to know in an intuitive way what works for him, what gets him things he wants, as he has his whole professional life. He?s called his method ?truthful hyperbole.? And regardless of what he himself understands, there are certainly people around him who do grasp all too well the usefulness of that ?ultimate motive,? of convincing the public that facts are not all that stubborn after all.

The Memory Hole

Supplying alternative facts is one way of destroying memory. Erasing real facts is another.

In Orwell?s 1984, there was a slot in the wall at the Ministry of Truth where Winston Smith worked, a memory hole, into which inconvenient documents could be fed to be consumed forever by a huge basement furnace. There are, it seems, plenty of memory holes in Washington these days.

Since January, the Trump administration has been systematically removing from federal websites inconvenient information on subjects as diverse as climate change and occupational health and safety and replacing it with anodyne messages. Take, for instance, this one, which you get when you search the Environmental Protection Agency?s website for the term ?climate change? and click on links that search turns up:

This page is being updated.

Thank you for your interest in this topic. We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA?s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator [Scott] Pruitt. If you?re looking for an archived version of this page, you can find it on the January 19 snapshot.

If you do click on the link for that January 19, 2017, ?snapshot,? you can still (for now) see what the old climate change portal of the Obama era looked like. At the top of the ?snapshot,? however, is a bright red notice announcing:

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2017. This website is no longer updated and links to external web sites and some internal pages may not work.

The government has now entered full-scale climate change denial mode. Information of just about any sort on global warming has been or is being memory-holed in a wholesale fashion at other agency websites as well. The Guardian, for instance, reports that in the part of the Department of Energy?s site addressed to children, ?sentences that point out the harmful health consequences of burning coal and other impacts of fossil fuels have gone.? At the State Department, references to President Obama?s Climate Action Plan and a recent U.N. meeting on climate change have similarly been expunged.

However, it?s not just government pronouncements on issues like climate change that are being sanitized. Actual data is disappearing from government websites. The federal government collects vast amounts of data, much of it the results of studies it has funded. Some agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, are required by law to retain data they collect, but they are not required to post it. This means basic information and the results of scientific research, once available online, are now only available through a Freedom of Information Act request. Of course, you have to know that the information exists in the first place in order to request it.

One result of hiding such data is that scientists citing U.S. government web pages as sources in their own work are now finding that the references they?ve pointed to have disappeared. Arctic researcher Victoria Herrmann describes watching her citations dissolve into thin air:

At first, the distress flare of lost data came as a surge of defunct links on 21 January. The U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic, the Implementation Plan for the Strategy, and the report on our progress all gone within a matter of minutes. As I watched more and more links turned red, I frantically combed the Internet for archived versions of our country?s most important polar policies.

Herrmann was able to find some of her missing articles using the Wayback Machine, an Internet archiving project. But as Herrmann points out, ?Each defunct page is an effort by the Trump administration to deliberately undermine our ability to make good policy decisions by limiting access to scientific evidence.?

It?s not just environmental information that?s been tossed down the memory hole.  Concerned about the health and safety of workers or animals? The Washington Post reports some things you won?t find any more on federal sites:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for instance, has dramatically scaled back on publicizing its fines against firms. And the Agriculture Department has taken offline animal-welfare enforcement records, including abuses in dog breeding operations and horse farms that alter the gait of horses through the controversial practice of ?soring? the animals? legs.

Sometimes information only hangs around for a brief moment, before sliding down the memory hole. That?s what happened to an advertisement for Trump?s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, which was masquerading as an entry on Share America, which the State Department calls its ?platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society.? The page appeared on the website of the U.S. embassy in London.

Someone must have realized that using the State Department to advertise the President?s private club was not a great idea. Conflict of interest? No problem. It?s down the memory hole.

[W]hat happens if the rewrites of our recent history begin to come so fast that we stop keeping up?

Nor is it just government websites that are being reworked in a distinctly Orwellian fashion. Recently, the Trump 2020 reelection campaign (yes, it already exists) quietly removed many 2016 campaign documents from its website. The Washington Post?s Avi Selk describes some of the missing press releases, among them the one that reproduced Trump?s full interview with ABC News? George Stephanopoulos in which he so infamously insulted Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke out against him at the Democratic Party convention, and his wife, Ghazala.

Similarly, links to Trump?s ?New Deal for Black America,? released a week before the 2016 election, now bring up a dreaded ?404 – Page not found? message on the Trump-Pence website. Whatever that ?deal? was, it?s evidently no longer on offer, nor is it even to remain in the historical record.

The same memory hole has also evidently devoured a December 2015 press release announcing that ?Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country?s representatives can figure out what is going on.? Fortunately, versions of that particular statement were repeated often enough in enough places that lawyers have been able to continue to use it to argue against the president?s executive orders banning the entry of people from seven (now six) majority-Muslim countries.

The Trump administration?s memory holes have swallowed up more than documents and data. People have also disappeared ? if not from the world, at least from their government positions. We still remember former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey, but who remembers Ponisseril Somasundaran or Courtney Flint? They are among the scientists recently dismissed from the Environmental Protection Agency?s Board of Scientific Counselors. Among their duties was to give advice on environmental regulation. They are to be replaced, according to agency spokesperson J.P. Freire, by people ?who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community? ? that is, representatives of polluting industries.

The United States of Amnesia

Gore Vidal coined the expression ?the United States of Amnesia? in a 2004 book about George W. Bush?s America. The particular instance of amnesia Vidal highlighted with that phrase was the failure of those then waging the ?war on drugs? to remember the disasters of the prohibition of alcohol sales in the 1930s, and the ensuing corruption, gangsters, and smuggling rings that came with it. 

His larger point, however, was that, in general, American historical memory is short. Thirteen years after Vidal?s book appeared, and with a new Republican administration ascendant, it seems that this country is in danger of sinking ever deeper into a state of amnesia. And can there be any question that, in a distinctly Orwellian fashion, the new administration is doing everything in its power to hasten that process? As the Trump administration prepares for a new ?surge? on the perpetual battlefield that is Afghanistan, we?ve conveniently forgotten how little the last one achieved. We?ve forgotten how deregulation led to the Great Recession, as the federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded in 2011. ?The greatest tragedy,? that panel wrote, ?would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done. If we accept this notion, it will happen again.? Yet the Republicans in Congress can?t wait to repeal Dodd-Frank, the law that restored a semblance of regulation to the world of commercial banking.

The fifth-century African bishop St. Augustine was probably the first Western thinker to pay attention to human memory. In his Confessions, Augustine observes that it is memory ? the ability to bring into present awareness past experiences and the ability to recognize the difference between past, present, and future ? that makes us self-aware beings. He described the ?vast hall of my memory,? where ?I meet myself and recall what I am, what I have done, and when and where and how I was affected when I did it.? It is on the basis of memory, he added, that ?I reason about future actions and events and hopes, and again think of all these things in the present. ?I shall do this and that,? I say to myself within that vast recess of my mind which is full of many rich images, and this act or that follows.?

If Augustine was right and memory gives us ourselves, allowing us to ?reason about future actions and events and hopes,? then a political regime that seeks to destroy its people?s memory is an existential threat.

In that case, the first act of resistance is to remember who we are.

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes. Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower?s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer?s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse?s Next Time They?ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt?s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

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New Report: LGBTQ Elders Show Resilience Despite Barriers To Successful Aging

The two women?s stories shared in the video above demonstrate the challenges that LGBT elders face as they age. Tina and Jackie were born in the same Virginia town in 1947. Despite their similar beginnings, the women?s lives take very different turns and a lifetime of discrimination, lost wages, lack of family recognition, and more add up to create substantial difficulties for Jackie.

Jackie?s story is all too common. America?s population is aging: by 2050, the number of people over the age of 65 will double to 83.7 million (from 43.1 million in 2012). While the public perception of LGBT people is largely one of a young, affluent community, there are more than 2.7 million LGBT adults ages 50 or older living in communities across the country, one in five of whom are older adults of color. A new report released today by the Movement Advancement Project and SAGE, Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults, provides a snapshot of the demographics of LGBT elders, an aging community that is diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, and age.

The report details the many challenges facing LGBT older people like Jackie as they age. Health and wellbeing, economic security, and social connections are among the cornerstones for successful aging, yet these are areas in which many LGBT elders face substantial barriers?stemming from current discrimination as well as the accumulation of a lifetime of legal and structural discrimination, social stigma, and isolation.

The report offers high-level recommendations for addressing key disparities facing LGBT older adults including:

  • Passing comprehensive employment and housing nondiscrimination protections prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensuring that all senior housing, assisted living, and nursing homes have explicit nondiscrimination policies and train staff on competently serving LGBT elders.
  • Revising federal and state programs to recognize the relationships of same-sex couples in which one partner died before the freedom to marry became available.
  • Designating LGBT elders as an underserved population within the Older Americans Act and within the Department of Health and Human Services, allowing government agencies to more easily target services
  • Passing the Restoration of Honor Act to make veterans discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity eligible for a number of programs, services, and benefits available at the state level.

To better understand the unique issues facing LGBT older adults, watch the video of Tina and Jackie?s experiences and share the report widely.

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Sean Hannity Sees Liberal Attempt To Drive Him Off The Air: ‘This Is A Kill Shot’

As Fox News host Sean Hannity came under fire for fueling a conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, Media Matters on Tuesday ran a straightforward, yet potentially ominous headline for him: ?These are Sean Hannity?s advertisers.?

Last month, then-Fox News star and accused sexual harasser Bill O?Reilly saw more than 50 companies quickly flee his show following an advertiser boycott led by Media Matters and other progressive organizations. Hannity tweeted more than a dozen times Wednesday that ?liberal fascists? at Media Matters now were targeting him just as became the first advertiser to jump ship. 

The recent attention being paid to his advertisers, Hannity said in an interview with HuffPost, is an attempt by progressives to silence his conservative voice. 

?There?s nothing that I did, nothing that I said, except they don?t like my position politically,? he said. ?They?ll try to ratchet up the intensity of their rationale. It does not justify an attempt to get me fired. And that?s what this is. This is an attempt to take me out. This is a kill shot.?

Media Matters president Angelo Carusone told HuffPost his organization isn?t pushing for an advertiser boycott. He said readers turn to the group for information on conservative media figures, and an accurate list of advertisers was relevant to post given the public outcry over Hannity?s coverage of Seth Rich?s slaying.

Conspiracy theorists have claimed the 27-year-old DNC staffer was murdered last summer in Washington in retaliation for being WikiLeaks source of party emails later published online. The U.S. intelligence community, though, concluded it was Russian hackers who infiltrated the DNC and not the work of an internal whistleblower. Washington police consider Rich?s murder to have been a botched robbery attempt. And Rich?s parents have asked for people to stop politicizing their son?s death.

But Hannity continued pushing the theory on his radio show Tuesday afternoon even after Fox News?s website retracted a story featuring unproven claims of a link between Rich and WikiLeaks. He later teased a major development coming on his Tuesday night Fox News show. But Hannity said during the broadcast that he would stop speaking about the case at this time out of respect for Rich?s family.

Hannity told HuffPost he received no pressure from Fox News brass or Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of parent company 21st Century Fox, to back off the story. 

?I did it out of my own heart,? he said. ?Nobody tells me what to say on my show. They never have and frankly they never will. I?m not that type of person you can say, ?Go on air and say this.? That?s been the beauty of Fox News all these years. They leave me alone.?

A year ago, Fox News appeared invincible amid 15 years of rating dominance among cable news networks. But co-founder and chairman Roger Ailes left in disgrace in July following a sexual harassment scandal; he died last week. O?Reilly, the top-rated cable host, swiftly lost his perch in April following a social media-fueled boycott. Co-president Bill Shine, who Hannity personally advocated for on Twitter, was out weeks later.

Carusone said he views Hannity ?freaking out? on Twitter as evidence of ?palpable fear and anxiety,? given those high-profile departures from Fox News. ?I think it illustrates the anxiety he feels,? he said. Still, Carusone also said Hannity was exploiting the opportunity to attack the left. 

Last week, Media Matters launched a campaign ? ?Know What You?re Sponsoring? ? that?s aimed at making sure ?ad buyers know what their clients are sponsoring if they spend their ad dollars with Fox,? according to the group?s release. Carusone said posting the list of Hannity?s advertisers is ?a continuation of that conversation,? and pointed out that Media Matters compiled it through publicly available information. 

Carusone said the problem with Hannity?s brand right now from an advertiser perspective is not that it?s conservative, but that it?s ?completely volatile.?

Hannity said he thinks Media Matters is ?being cute? in claiming not to be leading and advertiser boycott.

?There is an attempt, at this moment in time, to absolutely shut down the Fox News Channel and render it, frankly, a shadow of its former self,? said Hannity. ?I?m like the last, sole remaining person there from the old guard.?

?I think a lot of this is rooted in that people view that Fox did have an impact, people like me did have an impact in the [2016] election, or why would they waste their time, why would they care?? he said.

Noting that he?s been ?advancing a hard-hitting narrative about the media and a hard-hitting narrative about the ?Destroy Trump? movement and a hard-hitting narrative about how there is no Russia-Trump collusion,? he said of his critics: ?Probably they don?t want me around for the 2018 elections and the 2020 elections. So I do believe if they can shut me down, silence me, there?s political benefits for them.?

Hannity said he?s opposed calls to boycott controversial left-leaning hosts like HBO?s Bill Maher and CBS?s Stephen Colbert, and that if people don?t like what someone is saying on TV they can change the channel or turn off it off. 

But pressuring advertisers, he said, can ?silence the voice.?

?Maybe they think that they?ll be able to mount my head on a trophy and put it in their living room somewhere,? he said. ?But what is the net impact of all of this??

Conservatives, he said, may react by going ?after [MSNBC?s} Rachel Maddow. And then maybe they?ll go after [MSNBC?s] Lawrence O?Donnell. And then maybe they?ll go after [CNN?s] Anderson Cooper.?

Hannity said it?s great to have hosts with views ?so diametrically opposed to mine? on competing networks. 

?The danger here is so profound in as much as what we?re really saying is, ?You?d better not cross this line or this line or this ? and the line keeps changing ? or we?re going to shut you down or we?re going to intimidate you.? I actually think that coming from that side of the aisle it is the greatest hypocrisy ever.?

Still, the controversy that has embroiled Hannity didn?t stem from his long-running conservative views or unapologetic support of President Trump. He?s drawn heavy scrutiny for using his radio and TV platforms to promote a baseless theory about Rich?s death.

Over the past week, Hannity has aired a clip of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeming to imply in a Dutch TV interview that Rich was a source for his organization. Hannity said Assange told him Russia wasn?t the source of the Democratic emails and that he viewed the WikiLeaks chief?s comments to Dutch TV as suggesting Rich was.

Though Hannity at least temporarily backed off the Rich story on Tuesday night, it remains to be seen if enough damage was done from an advertiser standpoint. 

Hannity said he?s worked in an environment every day for decades ?knowing people want to get me fired.? 

?The great thing is, in my heart, I?m at peace,? he said. ?I know I did nothing wrong.?

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John Legend’s New Music Video Reminds Us A Man-Made Border Cannot Separate Love

John Legend?s new music video for ?Surefire? is an ode to the power of love in the face of xenophobia.

The video, directed by Cole Wiley, premiered on Monday via YouTube and tells the story of a young Muslim woman and a Mexican immigrant?s fight to be together. The couple faces prejudice, family disapproval and even deportation. 

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Wiley said that the characters ? named Roberto and Jamila ? and their story are a response to the anti-immigrant rhetoric and hatred that?s become more open in the United States this year. 

?Human civilization is experiencing an extraordinary moment in time,? he told the magazine. ?We are more capable of doing more good than ever before, but we are still mired by a myriad of systemic failures that continue to arise because of our continuing lack of empathy towards others.?

?That is why Jamila and Roberto, the star-crossed lovers featured in the ?Surefire? music video, face a number of obstacles that are heavily rooted in the current state of America,? he continued. ?Fear of immigration, religious bigotry and many other forms of prejudice are contaminating our cultural landscape on a daily basis.? 

In the video we see that one of the biggest obstacles for the two lovers is Jamila?s disapproving father, who eventually attempts to separate them by calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement and having Roberto deported back to Mexico.

Islamophobia is also an overarching theme in the video, which has a scene showing how Jamila is attacked on the street and has her hijab torn off her head.

The emotional scenes of how both Roberto and Jamila face adversity and ultimately triumph are paired with lyrics from the song that echo its themes: ?Make this our kingdom, somewhere where good love conquers and not divides/ I may not know a lot of things, but I know that we?re surefire.?

Watch the ?Surefire? music video and the lovers? story play out above. 

H/T We are mitú

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Another Resistance Movement Is Growing In The Heart Of Our Nation’s Capital

Cross-posted with

As his polling figures sag, the chaos of his presidency increases exponentially, and the news turns ever grimmer (for him), President Trump faces growing opposition nationwide. As TomDispatch regular Mattea Kramer reports today, from boycotting businesses carrying his products to jamming the phone lines of his hotels, an expanding, if somewhat uncoordinated, set of anti-Trump organizations are focused on how to divest America of its 45th president. They are, in particular, aiming at what he undoubtedly cares most about (other, of course, than himself): his business dealings and those of his children. (And just wait until such anti-Trumpism gains traction abroad and those businesses with the giant golden letters become ongoing targets of protest ? or worse ? globally.)

And yet these days, believe it or not, that may be the least of his problems. There seems to be another Resist Trump movement growing right in the heart of our nation?s capital in what has become the unofficial fourth branch of our government, the one not written into the Constitution but funded as if it were the only thing that Constitution contained: the national security state.

Among the many missteps (a kind word under the circumstances) of a president who clearly thought the worst was over when he won the election, none may prove more disastrous than his ? you can?t call it a decision, but perhaps an impulse ? to take on parts of that state within a state.  He began memorably by comparing the CIA and other intelligence agencies to so many Nazis and proceeded from there.  That he evidently never imagined such institutions, which now surveil the world in a way that might have amazed George Orwell and stunned the totalitarian regimes of the previous century, having the power to respond to him should amaze us all.  That he fired James Comey, for instance, without any sense that the FBI director or his supporters inside the Bureau could or would strike back was perhaps the ultimate in blind self-faith. (Of course, in these years, America?s intelligence agencies have often seemed like the proverbial gang that couldn?t shoot straight, as with the recent ? possibly North Korean ? ransomware attack on computer networks globally that was based in part on hacking tools pilfered from the National Security Agency.)

Now, from secret memos about ?pledges of loyalty? to leaks of every sort, the national security state may be in the process of trying to divest itself of President Trump.  It looks like some of its professionals have stopped collecting intelligence for him and started collecting it on him.  If his recently tweeted threat ? ?James Comey better hope that there are no ?tapes? of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!? ? wasn?t so much hot air (and he does have a past history of taping phone conversations), he might turn out to have done their work for them.  If so, he better hope that such tapes turn out to have an 18-and-a-half hour gap.

At the moment, the scandals seem unending. Campaign collusion (or was it confusion?) with Putin?s Russia, the Comey firing, the never-ending disaster of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, including the president?s possible request that the FBI director shut down the Flynn investigation, and the sharing of ?highly classified? information with the Russian foreign minister just head a list that seems to grow by the day, as congressional muttering about ?obstruction of justice? and ?impeachment? grows.  Meanwhile ? signs of the times ? the president?s aides are reportedly polishing their CVs and joining the crew leaking about him, while he remains angry with them for his own crazed behavior.

If this isn?t the potential script for a modern Dr. Strangelove, what is?  Only the nuclear weapons are missing (so far). Tom

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Donald Trump Has Been Successfully In-peached!

Here he is. Not impeached, but IN-peached.

Let us explain: On Monday, a White House statement claimed that while on his current trip abroad, Donald Trump aims to ?promote the possibility of lasting peach? between Israelis and Palestinians.

What better time to roll out the Article of Inpeachment (this article!)?

Liberals, break out the peach schnapps: The country is about to launch into a big, somewhat unified inpeachment party!

So what does the inpeachment entail? Congress actually doesn?t have to get involved, as a president is successfully inpeached after someone (anyone) simply imposes a photo of the politician on a photo of a peach to make it appear that said politician is trapped inside said peach.

And that is what has happened: The president of the United States has been inpeached.

These last few months have been the pits, so it?s understandable if you have fuzzy feelings about this decision ? despite what the inpeachment process may mean for this country.

During his campaign, our current president was like, ?Knock, knock,? and the country was like, ?Who?s there?? to which he responded, ?Orange,? and most of us were like, ?That seems bad,? and then he said something like, ?Orange you glad I have a banana?? and that seemed really bad, but then some of our roommates let Orange in anyway. He hasn?t been a great houseguest, and now it?s just fun to be like, ?WELL, ORANGE YOU GLAD WE INPEACHED YOU??

Fruit humor!

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Black-Owned Business To Help Replace 18,000 Contaminated Pipes In Flint

A black woman-owned construction company has been awarded a federally funded service contract to replace thousands of water pipes in Flint, Michigan.

As part of a $97 million settlement to replace corroded pipes by 2020, the state has contracted WT Stevens Construction, which became a state-certified lead abatement specialty company in 2016, along with three other companies. The companies will replace more than 18,000 pipes across the city, The Network Journal reported earlier this month. 

Rhonda Grayer, vice president of the family-owned company, told The HUB Flint that this contract is the ?biggest project we?ve done.? WT Stevens? $10.9 million contract is the largest deal with the city for replacing service lines, according to MLive. It is responsible for addresses in Wards 3, 4, 8 and 9. The city allotted $25 million for the project in total.

Rhonda?s husband, Jeff Gayer, serves as the project manager. He told TNJ that about 800 waterlines have been replaces so far and he hopes to have 6,000 replaced by the end of 2017.

?Our company is usually the only African American-owned business to respond to request for proposals for various Flint city contracts even now after the court rulings related to the water crisis,? he said. ?This is a major project that will ensure public safety and start rebuilding trust between the city and the community … something that has been missing awhile.?

He said the goal is to ?have all 18,000 lead-corroded residential pipes replaced by December 2019.?

The company has hired about 20 staff members, including ex-offenders and young people, and a video team to document the piping being replaced. Grayer said she?s following the example her late dad and founder of the company set for making a positive impact on the community.

?I will tell you that it is really exciting and the most important part of it is the opportunity to employ people who may not have had other opportunities,? she told The HUB Flint.

It?s been more than three years since the city?s water crisis began. In April 2014, Governor Rick Snyder and other politicians moved to change Flint?s water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River without properly treating the water or checking it for toxins.

Thousands of children and adults became sick in the predominately black city due to lead poisoning. A drinking water expert said there was a ?very strong likelihood? that water from the river led to the ?dramatic? increase in cases of a severe form of pneumonia that killed at least 10 people.

Though the water quality has improved recently and a federal judge approved the $97 million settlement, residents? health and livelihoods are still at stake. 

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My White Inheritance

To what extent do you own your inheritance?

Life is cumulative. At the end of our lives, we take all that we?ve earned, learned, and collected and pass it along to those that carry on our legacy. Recently, while doing research on my family like so many do on the internet, I pieced together parts of my family history. Decades of census reports track the progress of my ancestors from their arrival to America from Europe and Canada in the early 1900?s through the steel mills of central New England, each generation moving up in education and class.

My family history embodies America?s promise.

My great-grandfather, Anthony Golaszewski, an immigrant from Poland arrived at Ellis Island in 1907. With the help of a relative, he landed a job in a steel mill in Worcester, MA where he lived for the rest of his life. Like many immigrants at the time, he lived on U.S. soil for decades before becoming a citizen.

In 1938, Anthony?s daughter, Helen, married Wallace Polewaczyk, who also worked in Worcester?s steel mills, and moved into a triple-decker home in the Polish neighborhood. While they never owned property, they lived a modest life that fulfilled the dreams that carried Anthony across the Atlantic.

Anthony?s granddaughter, Irene, in 1969 married my father, John Cormier, a second generation American of Italian and French Canadian heritage. My mother graduated from high school and my father earned two master?s degrees. Together they ascended to the next level of the American dream, purchasing their first home and, years later, a second home by the ocean shortly after their fourth child was born (that?s me).

My research also uncovered a few painful parts of my family history.

My older brother was arrested for cocaine possession in 1989. As an 11-year-old, I read about his arrest in our local paper, a traumatic moment that altered my understanding of addiction and its impact on our family.

Between the lines of my family history lies an unspoken but potent truth in my inheritance. More than my thinning crown or prominently bridged nose, a defining characteristic has been handed down to me through my ancestry.

My family history embodies white America?s promise.

As I track the progress of my family, each data point has an implicit racial component that adds to the legacy I inherited. While we?re a family that has few material heirlooms and even fewer trust funds, I benefit from an inheritance that has provided me with a level of comfort, access and power directly tied to our whiteness.

It?s not shocking or newsworthy to hear that race impacts one?s lived experience or privilege. That seems obvious, though it?s not always acknowledged or accepted by my fellow white brothers and sisters. While it?s true that my life will forever be linked to the economic stability and supportive environment in which I was raised, it?s not simply about wealth and asset accumulation. It?s broader than that. And all of it can be tied to the fact that my ancestors were ? and I am ? white.

When Anthony came to America of his own accord in 1907, he depended upon the coterie of Polish relatives and familial acquaintances to start his life and find housing in the New World. This network of support is as American as Ellis Island and as critical to immigrants today as it was to Anthony. Even though Massachusetts was one of the first states to ban slavery and repeal Jim Crow laws, housing discrimination based on race was still legal until 1948, and continued through racist practices like redlining for decades after that. Anthony had access to reliable housing which aided his ability to get a steady job that sustained him and his family throughout his life.

My grandparents could marry in 1938 because they were both white and born in a state without anti-miscegenation laws. Massachusetts? infamous ?1913 law? that effectively banned interracial marriage was not fully repealed until 2008. As a gay man, I am keenly aware of the importance of marriage, and the economic stability and social acceptance that it can provide. Helen and Wallace had access to rights and benefits that were denied to mixed race couples.

When my parents married in 1969, they both had access to education that helped them advance their careers. At the same time, Boston area schools were failing generations of African-Americans (see also: the 1974 Boston busing riots). My siblings and I went to public elementary schools that continued to struggle to fully integrate in the 1970?s and 80?s.

In 1988, the so-called ?war on drugs? targeted communities with a racial bias that disproportionally incarcerated African-Americans. Federal penalties for crack cocaine were 100 times harsher than those for powder cocaine. Had my brother been caught with crack instead of powder cocaine, our family would likely have been drained financially by legal fees and emotionally by frequent trips to prison for years or decades.

This is not to say that my family was free of struggle and challenges. When Anthony arrived in this country, Polish immigrants were overwhelmingly poor and worked in grueling conditions in industrial factories ? which undoubtedly contributed to the high rates of alcoholism, violence, and domestic abuse in their community and within my family.

So, what now? What do I ? and others who recognize the lived and inherited components of being white ? do now?

For starters, we can admit this openly and push back when we hear comments about boot straps and self-made men (spoiler alert: they don?t exist). We can find our own ways of authentically owning our racial inheritance, including fighting racism and white supremacy.

The question posed to us is more about the future than the past. It?s not enough to simply acknowledge the privilege that comes with being white. What we do with this perspective throughout our lives will be the legacy we leave behind. Awareness effects action.

Because life is cumulative. And what we pass along will define our legacy.

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Leave This At Home When You Go Shopping (Or You’ll Regret It)

What should you leave at home when you go shopping this summer? Jennifer Boaro prefers this strategy: Put your credit cards into a cup of water. Then store it in the freezer.

“That way,” says Boaro, a furniture designer from Bellevue, Wash., “I have to wait for the ice to melt before I can use it.”

Ah, the things we do to keep us from overshopping. Almost 1 in 10 Americans is a compulsive shopper, and the disorder even has a name: Compulsive Buying (CB). Interestingly, most of the research points to poor planning, not a hedonistic lifestyle, as the reason for overdoing it. So if you’re stuck with a five-figure credit card bill, a few adjustments to your shopping experience could do the trick.

This is a good time to try some new strategies. With the upcoming Memorial Day sales just ahead, you can’t afford to wait. And don’t forget the Fourth of July, Labor Day and then — watch out! — Black Friday and Christmas.

You don’t have to become a statistic. Last week in this column, I discussed the items you should take shopping with you. Today, I present a list of things you should leave behind:

Another person with CB or young kids with little self-control.
“Any parent will tell that you that trying to do any kind of shopping with young children can feel like a truly impossible task at times,” says Kerri Moriarty, a veteran shopper and head of company development at the financial website Cinch Financial. But that can be true when you’re shopping with friends or a significant other. The best shoppers go solo, says Moriarty. They’re focused and determined to find the product they need at the best price.

A bad day.
Many CB sufferers turn to retail therapy to make them feel better. Retailers even promote it as a way of easing some of your life’s stress. Go shopping; it’ll make you feel better! “However, spending money is unrelated to whatever is bothering you,” says Kendal Perez, a savings expert with, a coupon website. “It only provides a short-term high that may result in an even worse day if your problems are spending-related.” Indeed, the right state of mind isn’t just desirable for shoppers — it’s required.

An unlimited budget.
If you have one of those platinum cards without a spending limit, you should keep it in your freezer. “Don?t leave home without a limit,” says April Masini of “Ask April” fame, who has seen more than her fair share of relationships wither under the pressure of extreme debt. “If you?re someone who?s prone to spending — or overspending — give yourself a thoughtful limit before you leave home.” If you know you suffer from a touch of CB, talk to the person you may choose to take with you. Set a limit and ask that person to hold you accountable. Note: Did I mention you should leave your kids at home?

Your credit card.
Jocelyn Johnson, a mother of two girls from Elkins Park, Pa., can’t leave them at home when she goes shopping, so she does the next best thing: she leaves her credit cards. “Instead, I gave myself a weekly cash allowance, so as I shop, I’m not tempted to grab items just because it’s on sale or only $2.99,” she says. “This also helps me regulate impulse buying when my girls want to just throw items in the cart.”

I’ve used the “oops-I-left-my-credit-card-at-home” excuse myself, but it only works for a while with kids. Sooner or later, they’ll ask you if you remembered your card before you leave. And then, as they say, the jig is up.

If you suffer from CB or know someone who does, these strategies might help. But as before, the only way to stay safe is to keep away from the mall, the big box retail store, or the computer. And helping you do that is beyond the scope of this column.

Christopher Elliott specializes in solving seemingly unsolvable consumer problems. Contact him with your questions on his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google or sign up for his newsletter.

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Will I be next?

Feelings are heightened in South Africa over the safety of women, writes the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko following a series of violent attacks against women.

Kristen Bell Shares Clever Diaper Hack For Parents In A Bind

Kristen Bell doesn?t hesitate to share the lessons she?s learned as a mom. And that includes parenting hacks.

On Thursday, the actress posted a photo on Instagram of a diaper hack she figured out during a plane ride.

?Quick fix for a broken pull up when you?re on an airplane?? she wrote in the caption. ?Hair tie. BOOM. Next question.? Bell also added the hashtag ?#mom.?

Quick fix for a broken pull up when you're on an airplane? Hair tie. BOOM. Next question. #mom

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on

Bell and her husband Dax Shepard have two daughters, 4-year-old Lincoln and 2-year-old Delta. 

The actress? parenting hack received more than 146,000 likes on Instagram. Many fellow parents praised the mom for her creativity and shared their own child-rearing hacks. 

?Parenting is all about winging it,? wrote on commenter. ?Great idea.?

?#MacGyverMom,? added another. 

Kudos to Kristen Bell for keeping it real. 

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ESPN’s Holly Rowe Says Her Cancer Has Returned

ESPN reporter Holly Rowe says her cancer has returned and spread, The Associated Press reported.

?I don?t think about having cancer when I?m out here,? Rowe told AP before she worked the sideline Thursday for a WNBA game between the Minnesota Lynx and host New York Liberty. ?Monday, I have a CAT scan and have treatment. I?ll be a cancer patient on Monday. I?m not thinking about it today.?

These are tough times for the sports network. Kathy Berman, wife of Chris Berman, who is arguably the face of the network, died in a car crash last week. The outlet has also conducted massive layoffs.

But Rowe will not be among them. ESPN stated Thursday in an editor?s note to a personal essay by the reporter that her contract had been renewed.

?I promise to repay and thank my bosses at ESPN for sticking by me during the most difficult year of my life,? she wrote. ?I don?t take a single moment of this journey for granted.?

In February 2016, doctors removed a tumor from her chest for the second time within a year, according to Sports Illustrated. She has continued to work during her battle with a rare form of melanoma.

?When I say sports have saved my life, I?m not saying that as a joke or lightly,? she told her hometown paper, the Salt Lake Tribune, recently. ?It?s given me things to look forward to and every single event I get to, someone is winning or losing.?

Rowe became a regular presence on ESPN in 1998.

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Sometimes we have to deal with stuff we never really asked for. And that kind of stuff is the hardest to deal with. People in Lice salons in Main Line are offering free treatments to children under the age of 10. told me they hated uncertainties and changes that life brought and it killed them to accept the surprises life brought them.

Spot-On Video Captures Bedtime With A Toddler And Newborn

Dealing with a toddler at bedtime can be a challenge. Getting a newborn to sleep through the night is also a challenge. Doing both at once? LOL.

In his latest video, La Guardia Cross of ?New Father Chronicles? perfectly sums up the struggle of having a toddler and newborn at home. ?Nighttime with a Toddler and Infant? has been viewed over 10,000 times. 

?The greatest achievement of parenthood is getting multiple kids to sleep at the same time,? Cross wrote in the caption. ?I failed.?

Good luck, man!

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Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern On The CIA’s History Of Disseminating Faulty Intelligence

In this week?s episode of ?Scheer Intelligence? Robert Scheer interviews Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst.

McGovern spent 27 years with the CIA, beginning in President Kennedy?s era and ending in George H. W. Bush?s administration. After leaving the agency, McGovern co-created the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, an organization of former intelligence officers protesting the use of faulty intelligence to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Scheer begins the conversation by asking McGovern about the CIA?s role in the Vietnam War, and McGovern expresses frustration that the intelligence he and other officers gathered didn?t influence White House policy.

?Our good analysis was published in-house, but most of it never got to the White House, or places where it might have affected policy,? McGovern explains of his early years working in the lower ranks of the agency. He and Scheer discuss how the fear of an international communist movement prompted U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

?This is the part I don?t get. You?re in the CIA, the intelligence agency, and you?re an expert on this,? Scheer tells McGovern. ?And the evidence was so clear that what the Americans were being told was nonsense.?

?One has to understand that there are really two CIAs,? McGovern responds. ?You can give the president the best of intelligence and the best of assessments, and he?s got other factors to consider.?

The two also draw parallels between the CIA?s faulty intelligence during the Vietnam War and the current political climate involving Russia and WikiLeaks. McGovern says the WikiLeaks documents on the Democratic National Committee were falsely tied to Russia as part of an effort to invalidate the leak. ?I personally heard Hillary Clinton?s PR person?a woman, [Jennifer] Palmieri is her name?I heard her crow and brag about how, even at the convention, she expended all kinds of efforts to make sure that people focused on the Russians,? McGovern says. ?Did WikiLeaks get hacks from the Russians? No way. WikiLeaks got leaks, and there?s a big difference.?

?Adapted from

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Wow, that sounds like quite the struggle! For the sweat rash you should try Gold Bond gunpowder. It absorbs effort throughout the day and keeps the girlies cool. You might besides look into a corset of some kind. It might be difficult to find one with the right ratio, but it might be easier to get bespoke and volition help hold your back. I wish I could help you more! I’m on It shouldn?t be so hard to find a good lice removal service in Hopatcong. the low end of the spectrum here( 38DD), indeed I don’t know any secret that ladies with big busts might know. Good luck!


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Seth Meyers: Trump Predicted All This Would Happen … If Hillary Clinton Won

?Late Night? host Seth Meyers is here to remind you that it has been an eventful news week, one President Donald Trump himself somewhat predicted when he was on the campaign trail. 

The only difference: Trump said this would happen if Hillary Clinton were elected president.

Meyers played clips Tuesday night of Trump railing against Clinton?s supposed mishandling of classified information and boasting to supporters that he would never put the country in such a situation. 

?If Hillary Clinton were elected, she would be under protracted criminal investigation likely followed by the trial of a sitting president,? Trump told a crowd in October 2016. ?The investigation will last for years, nothing will get done, government will grind to a halt and our country will continue to suffer.?

?It?s amazing ? the only thing he got wrong was the president?s name,? Meyers joked. 

Watch the entire clip in the video above.

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Sen. Angus King Says We’re Getting Closer To Impeachment

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Tuesday that impeachment of President Donald Trump is a growing possibility, if reports are true that he asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The New York Times and several other publications, citing a detailed memo written by Comey, reported Tuesday that the president asked the then-FBI director to cut off the investigation of Flynn?s ties to the Russian government. The report was published exactly one week after Trump abruptly fired Comey, a decision the president said later was influenced by ?the Russia thing.?

King said during an interview with CNN?s Wolf Blitzer that if the memo is accurate, impeachment is potentially on the table. He called the allegations in the memo a ?very serious matter.?

?If these allegations, Senator, are true, are we getting closer and closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment process?? Blitzer asked King. 

?Reluctantly, Wolf, I have to say yes, simply because obstruction of justice is such a serious offense,? King said. ?And I say it with sadness and reluctance. This is not something that I?ve advocated for. The word has not passed my lips in these tumultuous three or more months.

?But, if indeed the president tried to tell the director of the FBI, who worked for him, that he should drop an investigation ? whether it was Michael Flynn or some investigation that had nothing to do with Russia or politics or the election ? that?s a very serious matter.?

King also called on the White House to disclose any evidence that may disprove the Times report.

?If the White House has been saying all day that this never happened, then I think they should come forth with whatever evidence that they have, whether it?s tapes or notes made by someone at the White House, to contradict this,? he said.

If the president?s Twitter feed is any indication, tapes may exist. Last week, he implied he recorded his conversations with Comey.

Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), similarly raised the possibility of impeachment.

Read more on Comey?s memo here.

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Are U.S. Strategists Living On Another Planet?

Cross-posted with 

War, American-style, in the twenty-first century, hasn?t exactly been a sterling success story.  (How did the Brits ever manage to run that empire of theirs for so many years with such modest numbers of troops?) Take Afghanistan, for example.  We now know something of Washington?s latest plans for pursuing the war in that country well into its 16th year. They are, according to media reports, just landing on President Trump?s desk with the enthusiastic support of his national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, the Pentagon, the intelligence services, and General John Nicholson, the U.S. Afghan commander. Pushback seems to be coming only from the administration?s Bannonite wing. Basically, those plans seem to boil down to sending in more U.S. troops and more Special Operations forces, putting them in more combat-like situations, and supporting them with more U.S. air power ? or put another way, more of exactly what there has regularly been more of for the last 15 years. Call it a mini-surge. All of this, in turn, is supposed to ?break the Afghan deadlock,? shift the war in the favor of the U.S.-backed government, and lead to successful peace negotiations.  Oh, and it?s grounded in the conviction that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is capable of weeding corrupt and ineffective commanders out of his military.

It might cross your mind that all of the above could only have been dreamt up by ?strategists? who had been on another planet for the last decade and a half. However, the generals who came up with this brilliant plan (for a president who, in 2013, tweeted, ?We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let?s get out!?) have been deeply involved in America?s wars across the Greater Middle East in those years. And since it?s hard to believe that they meant to create a failing strategy, the only alternative is to assume that they?ve been involved in this sort of war-making for so long that they are no longer capable of imagining anything else.  In other words, what we?re witnessing is a brain-dead version of strategizing that will leave another set of officials in Washington wondering what to do next somewhere down the line.

In the face of such ?planning,? woefully typical of Washington?s war on terror, it?s always good to look for some bright spot and there does happen to be one area where the U.S. military remains the undisputed global champ: military bases. As David Vine has shown in his essential book, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, the U.S. garrisons the globe without competitors and in a fashion previously unimaginable. That ?rising power? China, for instance, is only now building its first base outside its own territory ? in the small African country of Djibouti, just miles from a large U.S. base, leaving it approximately 799 global garrisons short of Washington. Britain and France each still have some bases, generally left over from their days of imperial glory, and the Russians also have a handful, including two particularly active ones in Syria and another, just unveiled, in its own far northern territories near the Arctic Circle. That?s its second base in the melting north.  About such moves, Washington is already raising the alarm. (Secretary of Defense James Mattis at his confirmation hearings typically said, ?The U.S. must ensure that Russia doesn?t expand those efforts to dominate the region.?)

Still, in 2017, the U.S. still stands alone when it comes to garrisoning Planet Earth, a success story that, strangely enough, never seems to impress the mainstream media enough to consider it a subject worthy of coverage, which is why it?s so useful to have David Vine on hand with his latest piece, ?Forty-Five Blows Against Democracy,? at a moment like this.

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Tom Ellis Says Lucifer Is In For ‘A Shock’ During Season 2 Finale

There?s no doubt Season 2 of ?Lucifer? featured a roller coaster of a story arc with Lucifer?s mom entering the picture, not to mention his ongoing romantic dance with Chloe Decker.

The hit Fox series, which follows Lucifer (Tom Ellis) as he leaves hell and takes up residence in Los Angeles, has really come into its own this season, capitalizing on the mix of drama and comedy. Now, with only a few episodes left of Season 2, Ellis says fans can expect a few more twists and turns, including a possible visit from his dad.

Ellis told HuffPost during a Build Series segment that the episode titled ?God Johnson,? which is slated to air Monday, is one of his favorites so far.

?Lucifer is absolutely convinced that his dad has come down to Earth,? Ellis said. ?And that opens up a new side of things. As a stand-alone episode, I think that?s a really good episode.?

The following episodes will focus on Lucifer?s mom, Charlotte (Tricia Helfer).

?Our final two episodes of this season, it?s all about mom?s plan to get back to Heaven and taking her sons with her and how that kind of unravels. And then the very, very end of this season, Lucifer is in for a bit of a shock,? he said.  

Though he didn?t dish on what that shock might entail, Ellis did open up about his character?s relationship with Chloe Decker, played by Lauren German. 

?These two characters can be more themselves with each other than anyone else,? he said, adding, ?Ultimately, this love story that?s going on is very much the heartbeat of the show. But if we were to get our two characters together in Season 2, then I don?t know if we?d have much of a show anymore to be honest. I think when you?re thinking about the longevity of a TV show, you?ve got to nurture those relationships ? You really want them to get together. But you have to find valid reasons as to why they can?t yet.?

Luckily for fans, Fox picked up ?Lucifer? for a third season, so there?s plenty of time to explore Lucifer and Chloe?s love story.

?Lucifer? airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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Trump’s Muslim Ban Faces Tough Questions From Appeals Court

A U.S. appeals court on Monday questioned Justice Department attorneys over President Donald Trump?s temporary travel ban on people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority countries, the second such court to review Trump?s directive over the past week.

A three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, made up entirely of judges appointed by Democratic former President Bill Clinton, reviewed a Hawaii judge?s ruling that blocked parts of the Republican president?s revised executive order on travel.

The March order was Trump?s second effort to craft travel restrictions. The first, issued on Jan. 27, led to chaos and protests at airports before it was blocked by courts. The second order was intended to overcome the legal problems posed by the original ban, but it was also suspended by judges before it could take effect on March 16.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii blocked 90-day entry restrictions on people from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as part of the order that suspended entry of refugee applicants for 120 days.

As part of that ruling, Watson cited Trump?s campaign statements on Muslims as evidence that his executive order was discriminatory.

?There is no case like this, is there?? 9th Circuit Judge Richard Paez asked at the appeals court hearing in Seattle on Monday.

Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall said no one has tried to set aside a law based on a candidate?s campaign statements, adding that there was not enough evidence to show bad faith on the government?s part regarding Trump?s order.

Last week the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia reviewed a Maryland judge?s ruling that blocked the 90-day entry restrictions. That court is largely made up of Democrats, and the judges? questioning appeared to break along partisan lines. A ruling has not yet been released.

Arguing that the United States needed to tighten national security measures, Trump?s attempt to limit travel was one of his first major acts in office. The fate of the ban is one indication of whether the Republican can carry out his promises to be tough on immigration and national security.

Opponents – including the state of Hawaii and civil rights groups – say that both the first ban and the revised ban discriminate against Muslims. The government argues that the text of the order does not mention any specific religion and is needed to protect the country against attacks.

Outside the Seattle courtroom a group of protesters gathered carrying signs with slogans like, ?The ban is still racist,? and ?No ban, no wall.?

The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to be the ultimate decider, but the high court is not expected to take up the issue for several months.

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Mental Health Treatment Can Save Lives, But The Right Diagnosis Can Take Years

In His Own Words: Above, Nic Newling, 30, writes how his experience with untreated bipolar disorder made him feel.

Animation by Isabella Carapella/Photography by Damon Dahlen

1,277 days. That?s approximately how long it took Nic Newling to figure out he was dealing with bipolar disorder after first reaching out for help.

Newling was born and raised in Sydney. He first began to notice something was wrong when he was a young teen in school. He felt panicked and burned out ? sometimes for no reason at all ? and it was severely destabilizing his everyday routine.

?I was a high achiever in school,? Newling recalled. ?I was really dedicated to it, but halfway through that school year, I noticed I was getting really stressed and anxious. And from there it was a really long journey of trying to find the right help.?

He was admitted into an adolescent psychiatric hospital at age 14, where physicians believed he was dealing with some form of psychosis. He stayed for nine months. 

Newling was diagnosed with major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizoaffective disorder. He received medication and therapies to treat those specific illnesses. Nothing seemed to work.

At age 16, he underwent shock therapy, also known as electroconvulsive therapy. The controversial treatment sends small electric currents through the brain to alter its chemistry and treat issues like depression.

Newling reports feeling suicidal at the time. He knew, deep down, that he wasn?t getting the right help.

Data published by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association found that 69 percent of people with bipolar disorder are originally misdiagnosed, and more than one-third remain misdiagnosed for a decade or more. Many factors can contribute to this, including the delayed onset of certain symptoms or patients not sticking with treatment.

After three and a half years of incorrect diagnoses and different treatment methods, Newling finally found relief during a stay at a different psychiatric facility. His attending doctor caught him in a period of mania. After another evaluation, his physician diagnosed him with bipolar II disorder and gave him more specific medication to treat it.

?I felt skeptical at first,? Newling said. ?I?d been told I have so many different conditions over the years, and each one came with months or years of traveling down a path of no relief and diminishing hope.?

Animation by Isabella Carapella/Photography by Damon Dahlen

The Dangers Of Misdiagnosis

The major reason people are misdiagnosed is because their symptoms often materialize in different ways, says Bob Carolla, a spokesperson and senior writer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

?Finding the right treatment plan comes in stages,? he said. ?Not all symptoms may be appearing at the same time. Others may not be immediately recognized as symptoms.?

This is especially true when it comes to high-functioning people. For example, if a person is ordinarily achievement-oriented or creative, it may not be obvious they?re having a manic episode, Carolla said.

While there are no definitive statistics on how often mental illnesses are misdiagnosed as a whole, research suggests that bipolar disorder is the most misdiagnosed condition. This could mean more treatment costs and lost workplace productivity, as well as increased risk of suicidal thoughts if the person isn?t getting the most effective care.

To rectify this problem, it can be useful to have more frequent check ins with a doctor ? especially when a person is first seeking help, according to Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer of the mental health group The Jed Foundation.

?It?s really important for both the patient and the clinician, when they don?t know what kind of issue they?re dealing with, to be in touch more often,? he said. ?You need to evaluate things more consistently.?

There also needs to be better access to medical support, Schwartz says. Current data suggest that treatment is becoming less accessible thanks to issues with health insurance and a lack of available providers.

This is particularly true in the rural U.S., Schwartz explains, where patients may be most affected by the shortage of mental health professionals. A 2016 report found that people living in certain states struggle more to get help. Alabama, for example, has one mental health worker per ever 1,200 people.

Regardless of their nature, roadblocks to treatment can contribute to the patient losing hope. That?s why it?s so critical to perfect the diagnosis phase.

Newling says he feels lucky that he was able to receive the help he did, especially since he was also having suicidal ideations. But he wishes it hadn?t taken so long.

?I was very thankful, but also really annoyed that it took so long to get right,? he said. ?I?d seen many doctors over the years who were very skilled, but it still took most of my adolescent years away from me.?

How Stigma And Symptoms Impede Progress

Not only did Newling struggle to receive the right diagnosis, but he also felt he had to keep the entire process ?hush, hush,? he said. 

?It?s not always just judgment from others you?re worried about, it?s often that internalized shame or fear,? Newling said. ?You start to feel like people have a right to feel uncomfortable or weird toward you. A lot of that comes from within.?

Negative stereotypes about mental illness often prevent people from reaching out for help, research shows.

?Stigma is in our culture. It is in our language,? Carolla said. ?People are afraid to ask for help because of what may happen. It is in perceptions created by movies or television shows that link mental illness to violence or use it as the butt of jokes. Some also internalize stigma, believing stereotypes or myths and destroying their self-esteem.?

Animation by Isabella Carapella/Photography by Damon Dahlen

And as people with mental illness contend with those issues, they must also cope with symptoms that can be debilitating and make them feel like they?re not getting any better.

Bipolar disorder can cause a sense of hopelessness and make it difficult to sleep during the depressive phase. The period of mania can cause increased risk-taking and a heightened sense of euphoria. Some people, like Newling, may also experience racing thoughts during this phase.

?The perpetual flurry of random, disjointed words would fill my mind,? Newling said of his symptoms. ?I couldn?t hear the real world.?

These side effects prevented Newling from experiencing a full and productive life, he says. Even though he was once high-achieving, his will had gradually evaporated.

?I was more comfortable ?existing? rather than ?living,?? he explained. ?It felt like a slow death.?

The Relief Of Getting The Right Treatment

Mental health professionals stress that it?s vital for patients to stick with the treatment process to help manage their conditions. It can sometimes take three months for treatment to start working, according to Schwartz.

On top of that, no one method will be effective for everyone. A combination of techniques is likely to be most effective, experts say. Therapy can rewire the brain to help with mental health symptoms, but some people also need medication or other lifestyle changes.

Newling says it felt like a door had opened for him after he got a correct diagnosis.

?I felt I had a way forward,? he said. ?I believed that it could be possible that I might want to live and that I might have a decent life ahead of me.?

It?s been well over a decade since Newling discovered he had bipolar disorder. At age 30, he?s been able to fully manage his condition and lives a normal, enriching life. He?s also now a fierce advocate, working with mental health-related organizations like The Champions and R U OK? to share his story.

?I look forward to the future in a way I never thought possible,? he said.

Animation by Isabella Carapella/Photography by Damon Dahlen

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As part of May?s Mental Health Awareness Month, we?re focusing on treatment and the stigma around getting help. Check out our coverage here and share your story at

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Blake Lively And Ryan Reynolds Made A Cute Surprise Cameo On ‘SNL’

In honor of Mother?s Day, Melissa McCarthy paid tribute to moms during her monologue on ?Saturday Night Live? last night. 

After giving a little shout out to her daughters and her own mother, the actress told all the moms in the crowd to stand up. 

?Let?s give these ladies a hand!? she said, before joking, ?Every single one of these ladies who stood up have not been to the bathroom alone since they gave birth, they haven?t had a hot meal in years, all of our purses are filled with old cracker crumbs and dirty Purell bottles, and that?s OK.? 

Then, the actress pulled one lucky mom from the crowd ? who, it turns out, is mother to the show?s co-head writer Sarah Schneider ? for a special backstage tour. Chris Kelly, the show?s other co-head writer shared a photo of McCarthy and Schneider?s mom, Joan, on Instagram, writing ?she had no idea this was going to happen? in his caption. 

LOOK AT THIS!! It's @sarahdschneider's mom in the monologue! And she had no idea this was going to happen. ??????

A post shared by Chris Kelly (@chriskellyinstagram) on

During Joan Schneider?s special tour of Studio 8H, she and McCarthy picked up some props (ketchup and foot cream) and pet the hallway llama (an ?SNL? legend, apparently) before they were met by Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds.

?Oh my god! Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively! What are you guys doing here?? McCarthy asked, to which Reynolds deadpanned, ?You invited us.? 

?Are you going to get us seats?? said Lively, as McCarthy tried to cover up the fact she didn?t remember telling them to stop by.

McCarthy nodded along, telling ?The Livelys? their backstage spot was the best, before admitting to Joan Schneider she ?may have been drinking when she invited them.? 

The ?Spy? actress and Joan Schneider then each took a shot before McCarthy sent Joan onto the stage to ?host? the show. It was all pretty adorable. 

Watch the full video above. 

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Whether you are an experienced player or a beginner who just started off, you would have picked up a guitar and tried playing your favorite songs only to get yourself frustrated! Now how about a guitar player who makes it look easy to play world renowned guitar legends’ signature styles? He is Andy James. There are many videos of him playing the styles of most of the guitarists the world knows Our brides store in Canby provide luxury wedding dresses with an impeccable design and signature.. Catch him on action with this –

Bill Maher Rips Donald Trump For Turning Presidency Into A Reality TV Show

Bill Maher pulled no punches when it came to picking apart the week?s political news on Friday.

The ?Real Time? host tore into Donald Trump over the way he fired FBI Director James Comey, before accusing the president of turning the office into a reality TV show.

?The acting Attorney General? Fired. National Security Adviser? You?re fired. FBI Director? You?re fired,? said Maher. ?Welcome to ?Apprentice, Nuclear Edition.??

Check out the full monologue above.

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Mandy Moore Is Standing Up For Her Right To Do All The Dumb Things Men Do

It?s more important than ever to speak up for women?s rights in the current political climate. Women should be able to do anything that men can do ? that includes being a garbage person ? and Mandy Moore came ready with a very specific list of things in this Funny or Die video made in partnership with the ACLU.

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– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Melania Trump Releases First Official White House Portrait

The first official portrait of the first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, has been released.

Trump was photographed in the White House wearing a black blazer, a sequined neckerchief and two rings. 

It is not currently known who snapped the image of the 46-year-old FLOTUS, though the official White House photographer is Shealah Craighead. Craighead preceded her time with the Trump administration as the official photographer for first lady Laura Bush, and she also served as campaign photographer for Sarah Palin in 2008.

FLOTUS? official photograph comes well after the January release of President Donald Trump?s official photograph.

The image of Melania Trump was released with a description of the former professional model that indicated she?s worked with photography greats such as Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton, Arthur Elgort, Ellen Von Unwerth, Peter Arnell, Antoine Verglas and Mario Testino.

?She has graced the covers of Vogue, Harper?s Bazaar, British GQ, Ocean Drive, Avenue, In Style, and New York Magazine. Her major layouts include the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Allure, Vogue, Self, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Elle,? the description says.

FLOTUS and the Trumps? 10-year-old son, Barron, reside in New York at present and plan to move to the White House when Barron finishes the school year.

?I am honored to serve in the role of first lady, and look forward to working on behalf of the American people over the coming years,? said Melania Trump in a statement for the photograph.

And, just for nostalgia?s sake, let?s take a look at our last few first lady portraits:

Michelle Obama, 2013:

Laura Bush, 2005:

 Hillary Clinton, 1997:

We?ve reached out to the White House for more information about the photograph and will update this post accordingly.

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Retirement Health And Wellness Made Simple [Video]

Financial and physical health go hand in hand?especially when it comes to retirement. That?s why we?ve teamed up with Fidelity Investments to explore the link between physical and financial fitness. Remember that retirement planning is a marathon, not a sprint. Here?s what you need to know to help ensure a healthy and happy second act.

Retirement planning can be confusing. But at Fidelity Investments, we?re working to help make that process clearer, so you always know where you stand as you build the retirement you imagine. The first step is getting your Fidelity Retirement Score. By answering 6 quick questions, you?ll get a simple numerical score that shows you how well you?re doing as your save for retirement. Get started today.

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