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Twitter hits back again at claims that its employees monitor direct messages

 Twitter is pushing back against claims made by conservative activist group Project Veritas that its employees monitor private user data, including direct messages. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Twitter representative said “we do not proactively review DMs. Period. A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict… Read More

Trump’s racist ‘sh*thole’ comment: Who censored and who didn’t?

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Trump’s racist comment about “shithole” countries shocked with its crudity, leaving the press figuring out how to deal with the word.

The U.S. president used the word to refer to Haiti, El Salvador and other African countries. Trump questioned why its people were were coming to America, and asked lawmakers why the U.S. didn’t accept more people from Norway, a majority Nordic (white) country.

In the original Washington Post report, “shithole” appears in all its unsightliness throughout the article and in its headline.  Read more…

More about Media, Politics, Culture, Donald Trump, and Immigration

Pete Souza throws shade at Trump for ‘nuclear button’ tweet

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Pete Souza is back with more Instaburns for Donald Trump, after the latest scary-beyond-all-reason tweet from the president.

The former Chief Official White House Photographer during the Obama Administration, Souza has posted two images on Instagram in response to President Trump’s boast on Twitter that his “nuclear button” was bigger than the one apparently on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s desk.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018 Read more…

More about Politics, Donald Trump, President, Trump, and President Trump

Even Australia’s prime minister isn’t immune from being fined

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Politics might’ve been mad as ever in 2017, so perhaps there’s something oddly normal about a country’s leader getting what is a rather boring fine.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was issued a A$250 ticket (US$193) on Friday for not wearing a lifejacket when he was moving his dinghy near his Sydney home earlier this week.

The fine was confirmed by the New South Wales maritime authority, who are on the lookout for boaters who are breaking the law — seemingly no matter how distinguished they may be. 

The executive director for NSW Maritime, Angus Mitchell, said it was “a timely reminder during the holiday season to always wear a lifejacket.” Photos of the prime minister sans lifejacket were published in The Australian, which noted the law that had been broken. Read more…

More about Politics, Australia, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Ticket

Franken’s exit hands Dems another 2018 electoral headache

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2012 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty looks over the main stage during a sound check at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. U.S. Sen. Al Franken's announcement Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 that he will resign triggers a mad-dash special election in 2018 to finish the Minnesota Democrat's term, with Pawlenty seen as a top possibility for Republicans to cash in an unforeseen pickup chance. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) © The Associated Press FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2012 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty looks over the main stage during a sound check at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s announcement Thursday… ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sen. Al Franken’s announcement Thursday that he will resign sets off a scramble toward a special election in 2018 to finish the Minnesota Democrat’s term, with former governor and one-time presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty seen as a top possibility for Republicans to cash in an unforeseen pickup chance.

Franken said he would step down “in the coming weeks” after a series of sexual misconduct allegations caused support in his own party to collapse. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a replacement to serve until next year’s election.

Franken’s departure is a headache for Democrats, exposing another seat in a midterm election that already had them defending two dozen incumbents.

Republicans are eager to recapture a seat that Franken won in 2008 by a tiny margin and only after a monthslong recount. They’re also hoping the sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Franken will saddle Democrats with enough baggage to help Republicans break through in 2018.

“A lot of the electoral momentum recently has been with Democrats, and I think Franken’s resignation will provide a strong boost for Republicans in Minnesota in 2018,” said Brian McClung, a former aide and longtime adviser to Pawlenty.

Republicans haven’t won statewide in Minnesota since Pawlenty won a second term as governor in 2006. But GOP operatives see a positive sign in President Donald Trump’s narrow loss in 2016 — by just 1.5 percentage points — in a state that hasn’t gone Republican in the presidential race in generations.

“I think this adds one more competitive seat to the mix,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who is running the GOP’s Senate election efforts, said.

Former Sen. Norm Coleman, who served one term before losing to Franken, quickly announced he would not run in 2018, but other candidates could emerge.

Pawlenty had eyed the U.S. Senate the year Coleman won: He was minutes away from announcing a campaign in 2002 when a call from then-Vice President Dick Cheney persuaded him not to challenge Coleman. The former two-term governor has been weighing a return to elected office since a failed presidential bid in 2012, a year after he left the governor’s office.

Pawlenty has been CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable for five years, after not seeking a third term as governor and trying unsuccessfully for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. The position with the leading financial services lobbying group in Washington has kept him close to national tax and monetary policy, including the GOP-controlled Congress’ tax plans this year.

“He’s always had an interest in the Senate, so there’s every reason to believe that conversation will be refreshed,” former Coleman aide Josh Holmes said. Holmes is also a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is largely responsible for candidate recruiting in his drive to retain a majority.

Pawlenty did not return calls seeking comment.

Other Republicans who may consider running include State House Speaker Kurt Daudt, who has been considering seeking the governor’s office, and Rep. Tom Emmer, who represents the state’s most conservative congressional district and narrowly lost to Dayton in 2010 before going on to win a House seat.

On the Democratic side, Franken’s departure adds to the strain for a party trying to cut into the GOP’s two-seat margin in the Senate while having to defend many more seats.

Ten Democratic senators are seeking re-election in states Trump carried last year. Robust Republican primary campaigns are already underway in several, including in Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Democrats are defending 23 seats overall, while the GOP is defending nine. Two independents who caucus with Democrats also face re-election.

Democrats’ hopes in Minnesota could ride on someone shifting out of next year’s race for governor. A handful of top candidates — U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, state Rep. Erin Murphy and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman — have spent months connecting with party activists and their donors would be critical in a costly election.

Dayton’s appointment could give someone a running start for a 2018 campaign, but the governor may also choose to simply make a short-term replacement, tabbing someone who doesn’t plan to face voters.

His lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, has been most frequently mentioned for the temporary appointment. She’s known largely for behind-the-scenes work, including as Dayton’s former chief of staff. She ran former Vice President Walter Mondale’s brief Senate campaign in 2002 after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. She also served as a top executive at Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

But Smith previously announced she wouldn’t run for governor next year, suggesting that if she gets the appointment she would be no more than a caretaker.

Dayton could also look to a pair of fellow Democratic statewide elected officials: Attorney General Lori Swanson or State Auditor Rebecca Otto.

Or he might choose to send a loud signal against sexual harassment by picking Rep. Erin Maye Quade, a Democratic state lawmaker who, along with other women, accused two fellow state lawmakers of sexual harassment, resulting in their resignation last month.

Dayton said he would make his appointment “in a couple of days.”

Associated Press writers Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa and Kevin Freking in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2015, file photo, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith speaks in St. Paul, Minn. Smith is a possible replacement to fill U.S. Sen. Al Franken's seat after he announced his resignation amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, on the Senate floor in Washington. His resignation means Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a fellow Democrat, will name a temporary replacement. The winner of a special election in November would serve through the end of Franken's term in January of 2021. (Aaron Lavinsky /Star Tribune via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2015, file photo, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith speaks in St. Paul, Minn. Smith is a possible replacement to fill U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s seat after he announced his resignation amid multiple sexual misconduct… FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2017, file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Franken, facing fresh allegations of sexual misconduct and vanishing support from fellow Democrats, appears on the brink of resigning from the Senate. Franken's office said he will make an announcement Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in a speech on the Senate floor. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) © The Associated Press FILE – In this Sept. 20, 2017, file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Franken, facing fresh allegations of sexual misconduct and vanishing support from fellow Democrats…

MSNBC trolls Donald Trump with Obama ‘Merry Christmas’ montage

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According to Donald Trump, Donald Trump is solely responsible for coining the term “fake news,” Making America Great Again, and of course, bringing the phrase “Merry Christmas” back into the White House.

On Wednesday, Donny T. delivered a tax reform speech in St. Charles, Missouri, that started and ended with a focus on Christmas. Trump bragged and bragged about how he is the one bringing Christmas back to America, acting as though former presidents straight-up banned the holiday from the calendar or something.

MSNBC decided to investigate his claims, and believe it or not, it turns out Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, did in fact have those two words in his vocabulary. Can you imagine? Read more…

More about Conversations, Politics, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Msnbc

Garrison Keillor fired, says he put hand on woman’s back

By JEFF BAENEN, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Garrison Keillor, the former host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” said Wednesday he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of what the network called improper behavior.

Keillor told The Associated Press of his firing in an email. In a follow-up statement, he said he was fired over “a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.”

Keillor didn’t detail the allegation to AP, but in an email to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Keillor said he had put his hand on a woman’s bare back in an attempt to console her.

“I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it,” Keillor told the newspaper. “We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

Garrison Keillor © AP Photo/Jim Mone Garrison Keillor Minnesota Public Radio confirmed Keillor had been fired, saying it received a single allegation against Keillor about “inappropriate behavior” and didn’t know of any other allegations. MPR said it was notified of the allegation last month and that it stemmed from Keillor’s conduct when he was responsible for producing “A Prairie Home Companion.”

In his statement to AP, Keillor said it was “poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself. But I’m 75 and don’t have any interest in arguing about this. And I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I’ve worked hard for since 1969.”

Keillor retired as host of the long-running public radio variety show in 2016. His hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile, is in his second season as “Prairie Home” host. After Keillor retired, he continued to work with MPR on other projects.

The firing Wednesday came shortly after Keillor, an avowed Democrat, wrote a syndicated column that ridiculed the idea that Sen. Al Franken should resign over allegations of sexual harassment.

MPR also said the name of the show, produced and distributed nationwide by American Public Media, would be changed. The show has been named “A Prairie Home Companion” for more than 40 years. MPR also said it will end distribution of “The Writer’s Almanac,” Keillor’s daily reading of a poem and telling of literary events, and end rebroadcasts of “The Best of A Prairie Home Companion” hosted by Keillor.

Keillor started “A Prairie Home Companion” as a Saturday evening show in 1974, featuring tales of his fictional Minnesota hometown of Lake Wobegon “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

The show featured musical acts, folksy humor, parody ads for fake products such as Powdermilk Biscuits and the centerpiece, Keillor delivering a seemingly off-the-cuff monologue, “The News From Lake Wobegon,” in his rich baritone voice.

“A person could not hope for more than what I was given,” Keillor said in his statement Wednesday to AP.

Keillor bowed out with a final show at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2016, and turned the show over to Thile, a mandolinist and frequent “Prairie Home” guest musician. Keillor went on a 28-city bus tour this summer, vowing it would be his last tour, but he continues on the road with solo shows.

Keillor still produces the radio show, “The Writer’s Almanac,” for syndication, and is finishing a Lake Wobegon screenplay and a memoir about growing up in Minnesota.

Thile’s record company referred a request for comment from the AP to MPR.

Army veteran says Franken groped her during USO tour in 2003

Stephanie Kemplin poses with Al Franken in 2003.
© Stephanie Kemplin Stephanie Kemplin poses with Al Franken in 2003. An Army veteran says Sen. Al Franken groped her in December 2003, telling CNN that while she was deployed in Kuwait, the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast during a photo op.

Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, is the fifth woman in two weeks to accuse Franken of inappropriate touching, and the second person to allege that such behavior took place while Franken was on a USO tour. Three of the five women have been identified by name.

Kemplin said while she was stationed in the Middle East during the Iraq War, she met Franken — at the time, a comedian and writer — as he was visiting American troops with the USO. A longtime fan of “Saturday Night Live,” Kemplin got in line to take a photo with Franken.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin said in an interview. “I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.”

Kemplin repeatedly used the word “embarrassed” to describe her immediate reaction at the time.

“I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed,” she said. “And I remember thinking — is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand.”

She added: “It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident. I’m very confident saying that.”

Kemplin estimated that the touching lasted anywhere from five to 10 seconds. She said she eventually turned her body to shift Franken’s hand off her breast before the picture was taken.

In a photo shared with CNN, Kemplin — who was 27 at the time and a military police officer — is smiling widely with the left side of her face pressed against Franken’s right cheek. Franken’s right arm is wrapped around Kemplin’s back and his hand is on her side at chest-level, and does not appear to be on her breast in the photo.

Looking back at the picture, Kemplin said she recalls feeling frozen and numb: “I did not process it in those split seconds.”

A Franken spokesperson told CNN Wednesday night: “As Sen. Franken made clear this week, he takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation.”

‘I just feel so sorry for that young girl in that picture.’

In one of multiple lengthy phone calls with a CNN reporter this week, Kemplin repeatedly broke into sobs.

“I was in a war zone… You were on a USO tour — are you trying to boost the morale of the troops or are you trying to boost your own?” she said. “I just feel so sorry for that young girl in that picture.”

Kemplin said she did not say anything to Franken at the time.

“You’re immediately put on the spot. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Your mind goes a mile a minute,” she said. “Who was I going to tell?”

She also doesn’t recall telling any fellow soldiers about the incident afterwards because she felt ashamed and did not have peers she felt she could confide in. But she discussed it with multiple family members and relatives, including her sister, as well as an ex-boyfriend. CNN interviewed both.

Amy Muddiman, Kemplin’s older sister, said she remembers Kemplin being excited that Franken was coming to visit because she had grown up watching SNL.

“I just remember her telling me that he grabbed her breast and that she was so shocked about it,” Muddiman said. “My sister is pretty bold and assertive and she said that she didn’t know what to do.”

One of Kemplin’s ex-boyfriends was also in the Army and he and Kemplin dated after the two of them returned to the United States. He asked not to be named to protect his privacy. He told CNN that while he did not remember all of the details of what Kemplin described of her encounter with Franken, she said “he went to put his arm around her and copped a feel.”

Kemplin’s account sounds similar to others

Kemplin’s story bears striking resemblance to those of several other women who have accused Franken of groping in recent days.

Lindsay Menz of Frisco, Texas, told CNN last week that Franken grabbed her buttocks while the two took a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. The Huffington Post also reported that two women, whose identities were not revealed, said Franken touched their buttocks in 2007 and 2008.

These stories came after Leeann Tweeden, morning news anchor on KABC radio in Los Angeles, revealed that Franken groped and forcibly kissed her during a USO tour in 2006.

Kemplin said when she saw Tweeden’s story on social media, she “felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath me” because she had tried not to think about her run-in with Franken in years.

Kemplin reached out to Tweeden two days after Tweeden went public with her story, and the two women spoke on the phone a few days later. In one of their subsequent conversations, Tweeden asked Kemplin if she could connect her with a CNN reporter.

Over the past two weeks, Kemplin also wrote about her 2003 meeting with Franken on Facebook in two posts visible to her friends on the social network. One relative, whose name CNN is not using to protect the person’s privacy, commented on Facebook that her husband “remembers you telling him about (Franken) years ago.”

Kemplin, who now works as a federal contractor investigating Medicare fraud, is a registered Republican and said she voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. 

Kemplin recounts sexual assault by fellow soldier

One reason Kemplin said the Franken news has hit her especially hard in recent days is because she was the victim of sexual assault while serving overseas.

She said she was assaulted by a specialist with whom she shared a tent in 2003, just months before her run-in with Franken. The details of the assault were shared with CNN but are not being disclosed at Kemplin’s request.

CNN has also reviewed Kemplin’s military records. She was discharged honorably in 2008.

Sean Chambers, the platoon sergeant who oversaw Kemplin while she was deployed in Kuwait, described Kemplin in an interview as a “model soldier” who was honest, friendly and quiet.

Chambers said she confided in him about having been inappropriately touched by a member of their unit, though she did not divulge to him the full details at the time. An investigation was launched into Kemplin’s complaint of “indecent assault.”

According to documents viewed by CNN, Kemplin was eventually told that while the whole incident was “totally inappropriate behavior,” the accused specialist was not guilty of “indecent assault.” In addition, she was told that she was “responsible” for having allowed the male specialist to get close to her.

“I was really pissed off. It was not right,” Chambers said. “My reaction was: when is it ever the victim’s fault?”

He added: “I believe Stephanie. I believe that something did happen. I’ve seen sexual assault victims before in my line of work and the trauma that they face and there’s no doubt in my mind that something happened.”

Re-living her encounter with Franken, Kemplin said, has brought up memories of that assault

Kemplin struggled to re-acclimate when she came home from Iraq. Today she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has trouble sleeping. One of her coping mechanisms since the war, Kemplin said, is to “shut down” and block out certain negative memories, particularly when she is feeling overwhelmed. She has described this in the past as a kind of selective “memory loss.”

She said she is certain some people will question her story about Franken, because she is only choosing to speak out years later: “Nobody wants to believe anybody if you don’t immediately stand up and say something.”

Franken has repeatedly apologized about behavior that he said “crossed a line” for some women. The second-term senator has also said that he has taken thousands of photos with people over the years and that while he doesn’t remember specific pictures or campaign events, any inappropriate behavior was unintentional.

Franken faces a potential investigation under by the Senate Ethics Committee, and has said he will fully cooperate with the probe.

In a news conference on Capitol Hill this week, CNN asked Franken why he was unable to answer the question of whether more women could come forward with allegations of sexual harassment.

“If you had asked me two weeks ago, would any woman come forward with an allegation like this, I would have said no,” Franken said. “And so I cannot speculate. This has been a shock and it’s been extremely humbling. I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed.”

CNN’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

Woman says Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010

Franken poses with Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas.
© Lindsay Menz Franken poses with Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas. A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.

It is the first allegation of improper touching by Franken, who is a Democrat, while he was in office. It comes just days after Leeann Tweeden, a local radio news anchor in California, said that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her in 2006, when Franken was a comedian.

Franken has since issued an apology to Tweeden and faces a potential investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas, reached out to CNN on Thursday hours after Tweeden made her story public. Menz said she wanted to share an “uncomfortable” interaction that left her feeling “gross.”

According to Menz, she attended the Minnesota State Fair with her husband and father in the summer of 2010, almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Her father’s small business was sponsoring a local radio booth, and she spent the day meeting various elected officials, political candidates and celebrities and taking photos with them as they stopped by the booth.

When Franken walked in, Menz and her husband, who also spoke with CNN, said they recognized him right away. Menz said she had a brief and cordial exchange with the senator.

Then, as her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear,” Menz said. “It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.”

“It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt,” she said, recalling that the brazen act lasted three or four seconds. “I was like, oh my God, what’s happening.”

“He reached around her and kind of pulled her into him,” said her husband Jeremy Menz, who didn’t see what happened behind his wife. “He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head. It was over pretty quick.”

Lindsay Menz told CNN that she walked away as soon as the photo was taken, without saying anything to the then-first term senator. When she reconnected with her husband moments later, she told him: “He totally grabbed my butt.” Jeremy Menz described that conversation the same way to CNN.

In a statement to CNN Sunday, Franken said he did not remember taking the photo with Menz and that he felt “badly” that she felt disrespected.

“I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture,” Franken said. “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”

“I felt gross. It’d be like being walking through the mall and some random person grabbing your butt,” Lindsay Menz said. “You just feel gross. Like ew, I want to wash that off of me.”

“I was upset. I wasn’t happy about it in the least,” Jeremy Menz said. “He was already gone and I wasn’t going to confront him. But yeah — I was in shock, really.”

Menz’s father, Mark Brown, was also in the radio booth that day but didn’t witness the moment. But he told CNN that his daughter told him about the incident right away.

Menz’s mother, Jodi Brown, also told CNN that she discussed the incident with her daughter immediately after it happened. She said she distinctly recalls her son-in-law saying to her: “Our senator just groped my wife right in front of me.”

In the photo of Menz and Franken, the side of the senator’s face is pressed up against Menz’s but the lower halves of their bodies are not shown. Both of them are smiling.

Menz posted the photo with Franken on Facebook at the time, on August 27, 2010. Her sister, Cari Thunker, commented under the photo: “Sorry, but you two aren’t Bibles (sic) width apart” — a reference, Thunker explained to CNN, to how physically close Menz and Franken were in the photo.

Menz responded to her sister on Facebook: “Dude — Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!” (The exchange is visible to Menz’s Facebook friends.)

Minnesota statutes state that “intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the buttocks” is not considered criminal sexual conduct.

Menz told CNN that what happened immediately after she took the photo with Franken that summer day in 2010 has also stayed with her. Standing nearby was another politician — then-Minnesota Rep. John Kline.

As she was getting ready to take a picture with Kline, Menz said the congressman asked her whether they should “mutually put our arms around each other” — an interaction that struck her as being in stark contrast with what she had experienced moments ago with Franken.

Reached on the phone on Friday, Kline, a Republican who retired from Congress this year, confirmed that he attended the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, as he did most years. Kline could not remember seeing the interaction between Menz and Franken. But when CNN described Menz’s recollection of her interaction with Kline before they took a photo together, he told CNN: “As a matter of practice, I did that all the time.”

“If somebody wanted a picture, I would ask: should I put my arm on your back or your shoulder?” Kline said. He said that as a congressman, he was particularly inclined to do this when taking photos with women.

Lindsay and Jeremy Menz moved from Minnesota to Texas in 2014. Lindsay Menz is now a stay-at-home-mom of three young kids. Neither is registered with a political party and she said she has equally supported Republican and Democratic candidates while he said he has tended to favor Republicans. The couple voted last year for Donald Trump, and Menz said she has voted for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is a Democrat, in the past. Menz said she believes she has voted for Franken as well, but is not sure.

RELATED: Democrats, liberal groups are on the defensive following Franken revelations

When Menz saw the news of Tweeden’s allegations against Franken on Thursday, she immediately discussed her own run-in with the senator from 2010 with her family. She also posted about it on Twitter and Facebook.

A friend encouraged Menz to contact a CNN reporter after seeing the network’s coverage of sexual harassment in recent days. Menz was emphatic that she “absolutely” would not have decided to share her story had Tweeden not done the same.

“I don’t want to paint my story in the same light as hers,” Menz said, saying she believes what happened to Tweeden is much worse.

Still, she said, “the reason I want to say something is if someone sees that I said something, maybe it would give them the courage to say something too.”

Franken has not made further statements to the press since releasing two apologies on Thursday. He has said he intends to fully cooperate if there is a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior.

“I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed,” he said in a statement. “I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”

Woman says Franken groped, kissed her without consent in 2006

Updated 3:09 PM ET, Thu November 16, 2017

(CNN) – A woman said Thursday that Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken groped her and kissed her without her consent in 2006 while she was on a USO Tour overseas.

Leeann Tweeden is now a morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles and posted her story in a lengthy post on the station’s website.
The incidents happened before Franken was elected to the Senate in 2008 and was seated in 2009 following a recount.
 
Tweeden described the harassment as being part of a script for a USO skit where Franken wrote where he’s supposed to kiss her. She writes that Franken repeatedly insisted they rehearse the kissing scene despite her protests. When she relented, Franken, “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”
“Senator Franken, you wrote the script,” Tweeden wrote. “But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”
 
She also included a photo in which Franken appears to grabbing Tweeden’s breast while she’s asleep.
 

 
“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden writes. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”
 
In a statement to reporters, Franken said he doesn’t remember the forced kissing, but said he shouldn’t have conducted his behavior as he did in the photo.
 
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken said. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
 
Franken released a longer statement several hours after his initial one, where he described a lengthier apology and said he “didn’t know what” was in his head when he took the actions in the photo.
 
“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry,” Franken said in the email statement.
 
He continued, “I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
Franken continued to say he didn’t remember the exact actions of the rehearsal skit, but added, “I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”
At a news conference, Tweeden was asked if she accepted Franken’s apology.
 
“There’s no reason why I shouldn’t accept his apology,” she said. “I wasn’t looking for anything.”
 
Tweeden also recounted her 2006 encounter with Franken during the news conference, describing in detail the moment in which Franken kissed her.
She said he stuck his tongue in her mouth “so fast.”
 
“All I could remember is that his lips were really wet and it was slimy. In my mind I called him fish lips the rest of the trip because that’s what it reminded me of,” she said.
Tweeden said she “pushed” Franken off, and that she almost punched him.
 
“I pushed him off with my hands, I just remember I almost punched him … Every time I see him now, my hands clench into fists,” she said.
 
After the incident, which Tweeden said she did not report at the time, she said she made sure she was never alone with Franken again.
 
Asked whether she believes Franken should step down, Tweeden said that “people make mistakes.”
 
“I’m not calling on him to step down,” she said. “That’s not my place.” However, she added that her opinion may change if other women come forward with similar allegations.
The comments about Franken come at a time when Congress is conducting a review of its policy for addressing sexual harassment and how it handles complaints. The House held a hearing on the issue earlier this week, and both chambers have now required mandatory sexual harassment training. The changes to Capitol Hill follow the ground-shaking allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct that have swept industries, organizations and institutions worldwide.
 
Franken acknowledged that cultural change in his revised statement.
 
“Over the last few months, all of us — including and especially men who respect women — have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women,” Franken said.
 
Tweeden said she’s coming forward now after hearing testimony from women — including California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier — who have shared similar stories of men in power who have committed sexual harassment and sexual assault.
 
“I want to have the same effect on them that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me,” Tweeden wrote. “I want them, and all the other victims of sexual assault, to be able to speak out immediately, and not keep their stories –and their anger– locked up inside for years, or decades.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said the issue should be referred to the ethics committee.
“As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this,” McConnell said in a written statement. “Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else.”
Franken said he would cooperate with the committee’s investigation.
 
The allegations have already been injected into politics, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee tying senators running for re-election to Franken and the National Republican Campaign Committee demanding that Democratic candidates who had received campaign money from Franken to return those donations.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the highest ranking woman in the Democratic Senate leadership said Franken’s apology “doesn’t reverse what he’s done or end the matter”.
Murray said, “This is unacceptable behavior and extremely disappointing. I am glad Al came out and apologized, but that doesn’t reverse what he’s done or end the matter. I support an ethics committee investigation into these accusations, and I hope this latest example of the deep problems on this front spurs continued action to address it. “
Franken mentioned Tweeden on the Senate floor in September 2010 and called her a “beautiful woman” during a speech about his past USO tours and the jokes he would tell regarding the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
 
“And during the show I would, I was kind of co-host with a beautiful woman named Leeann Tweeden, and we’d do comedy routines, we’d introduce music, we’d introduce cheerleaders,” Franken said. “I’d go out and do a monologue, and this is something I would do, I’ve done for a number of years, and I’d go out and I would say, you know, I’ve done now seven USO tours and every year I’m just more and more impressed with the US military, except one thing I do not get, it’s the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.”
 
This story has been updated and will continue to update with developments

Russia targeted election systems in 21 states, successfully hacking some

 On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security notified nearly half of the U.S. states that their election systems were targeted by Russia-affiliated hackers in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. In most of the states targeted, the hackers were engaged in preliminary activities like scanning. In other states hackers attempted to infiltrate systems and failed, but in a small selection… Read More

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Jimmy Kimmel tears apart his critics on health care bill

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Jimmy Kimmel isn’t taking your shit lying down.

On Tuesday night, Kimmel went to town on the Graham-Cassidy bill — proposed by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy — for failing the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” 

In the monologue, Kimmel said Cassidy “lied right to my face” when he appeared on the show in May, where the senator promised coverage for kids like Kimmel’s son who was born with congenital heart disease.  

In the day after Kimmel’s outburst on the bill, politicians and television personalities lined up to criticise the talk show host. Like Cassidy, who accused Kimmel of not understanding the bill, when talking to CNN‘s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning.   Read more…

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Here's how the White House may be keeping Trump off the web

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It’s the digital version of a playpen for an adult who’s incapable of setting his own boundaries.

A new report in The New York Times on Friday talks about President Trump having no access to a normal web browser on his iPhone. It’s a setup designed, according to the report, to limit his exposure to the news media (thus, presumably, avoiding one of his now familiar, venomous, media-hating tweetstorms).  

“[New chief of staff, John F. Kelly] cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering,” the Times report states.  Read more…

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In swiftly-deleted posting, GOP links Legend of Zelda to progressive taxation

Sadly, the Republican Party has already deleted its article titled What Do The Legend of Zelda and the American Tax Code Have In Common? and any corresponding twetes. But it lives on at Google Cache, at least for now.

Tragically, having equated the adventures of a mute yet heroic elf with the clawing economic deprivations of progressive taxation, the article barely touches upon why beyond simply noting a few coincidental dates. It’s the very dumbest boilerplate. Sad!

https://twitter.com/Beschizza/status/900516331522535429

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Bannon back at Breitbart after Trump White House ouster: 'I've got my hands back on my weapons'

Hold on to your butts, America. Steve Bannon is, as an ally told one reporter, “unchained” after being relieved of his White House duties as Trump’s strategic advisor

In an interview this evening, Bannon tells the Weekly Standard he’s returning to run Breitbart.com, as he was before becoming Trump’s campaign manager exactly one year and one day ago today.

Bannon will become Executive Chairman of the white supremacist “alt-right” publishing firm. “I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart,” Bannon said, “And now I’m about to go back…and we’re about to rev that machine up.”

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Bill Clinton channels Sean Spicer by hiding among the Bushes

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Former President Bill Clinton has officially embraced the dad joke phase of his life.

Clinton attended the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday to celebrate this year’s graduating class from the Presidential Leadership Scholars program. While there, he took a moment to to hide among the Bushes, like our good friend in the current White House, press secretary Sean Spicer

President Clinton at the George W. Bush Library tonightpic.twitter.com/YcgCBoN3Ys

— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 14, 2017 Read more…

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America is starting to realize that “liberal/conservative” labels exclude the left

On my first day at Michigan State University in 1992, a fellow student called me a “liberal” and I was shocked: as a Canadian who was often to the left of the social-democratic New Democratic Party, I identified “liberal” with the Liberal Party, a centre-right political party that had once imposed martial law in Canada.
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Debullshitifying the free speech debate about CNN and Trump's alt-right wrestling GIF

In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moment’s views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to apply a double standard that excuses “our bunch” and damns the “other side.”
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Politician breastfed her baby while speaking in parliament, because work never stops

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Talk about multi-tasking.

Larissa Waters, a Greens party MP in Australia, got plenty of plaudits earlier in the year when she was the first politician to breastfeed in parliament.

Now she’s the first to deliver a speech while breastfeeding, because well, sometimes work can’t stop. Here she is breastfeeding her daughter Alia Joy Waters, while submitting a motion on black lung disease.

How far we’ve come@larissawaters gives a speech while breast feeding! Yes! First woman in Australian parliament to ever do so#auspol pic.twitter.com/bBwshTvEHa

— David Sharaz (@DavidSharaz) June 22, 2017 Read more…

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Lord Buckethead wins 249 votes in UK general election challenge to Prime Minister May

Lord Buckethead, standing against British Prime Minister Theresa May in the country’s Wednesday general election, won a staggering 249 votes. The “intergalactic space lord” who “enjoys planet-conquering” and “dominating inferior species” (and UK TV light entertainment classic Lovejoy) fought for office in the Maidenhead, Kent constituency hitherto and henceforth considered a safe seat for May’s Conservative party.

Though Buckethead did well, May retained her seat by thousands of votes.

The nation as a whole, however, is unexpectedly up for grabs: May, convinced by opinion polls that a snap election would yield a landslide mandate for her Brexit agenda, instead found herself reeling against a resurgent Labour Party, led by the suddenly and unnervingly competent old-timey socialist Jeremy Corbyn. Though her party seems likely to retain the largest vote and perhaps a very slim majority in Parliament, her cred is toast. And Corbyn’s success is energizing the left, and not just in Britain…

The far-right UKIP party seems to be utterly vanquished, too, a sweet outcome for anyone left of Mussolini.

That said, given the assumption Corbyn’s Labour party will hang parliament without quite gathering enough seats to topple the Tories, are you ready for Prime Minister Boris? Just imagine how great he’ll look in photo ops with Trump.

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Centrist Macron thrashes far-right Le Pen in French presidential election

Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen by about 66%-34% in France’s presidential election Sunday, with few votes outstanding. Macron, a 39-year-old centrist newcomer, faced a strong challenge from his far-right adversary, but polls never gave her a serious shot at the job. And on the day, the margin was even wider than expected.

Mr Macron will also become the first president from outside the two traditional main parties since the modern republic’s foundation in 1958. …

The Macron team said that the new president had had a “cordial” telephone conversation with Ms Le Pen.

In a speech she thanked the 11 million people who had voted for her. She said the election had shown a division between “patriots and globalists” and called for the emergence of a new political force.

The result came despite an internet-driven effort to torpedo Macron’s campaign with hacks, leaked emails and conspiracy theories—a pattern that stoked fears of a similar outcome to last year’s election in the U.S., where similar circumstances saw millionaire reality TV star Donald Trump prevail over Hillary Clinton.

It is indeed a sad day for American media who hoped the French were as dumb as us.

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India bans one of its oldest symbols of VIP culture

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India has banned its most prominent display of VIP culture — the red beacon light atop cars of ministers, government officials and bureaucrats.

PM Narendra Modi has said, “Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP.” 

The ban, effective from May 1, doesn’t exempt even vehicles of the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. 

This ban is historic because the red beacon, introduced by British colonizers in pre-independent India, was seen as a “status symbol” and a show of privilege and power.  Read more…

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We don't need April Fools' Day anymore because we're living a fake news nightmare

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I remember the halcyon days when April Fools’ Day was a bit of harmless fun. We’d read fake stories from the newspaper over our cornflakes and have a good chuckle. Fake news was just something that happened once a year. But, those days are gone

We are now living in the age of fake news; where mistruths are presented as truths, and believed at face value. Fake news is no longer a once-yearly event, it’s a 365-day-a-year news cycle. And, that’s why April Fools’ Day needs to die. 

“April’s Fool Day is a day when you have to constantly engage the critical and sceptical part of the brain so you don’t get duped,” says Claire Wardle, Director of Research and Strategy of First Draft News. “Now that we are increasingly encountering information that has been fabricated, manipulated or is downright misleading, we need to be engaging those same parts of our brains every day and questioning what we’re seeing in our social feeds.” Read more…

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David Beckham managed to piss just about everyone off with his new Facebook post

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Looks like there’s just no winning this time for David Beckham.

The English football star probably lost a bunch of Chinese fans after a post in which he referred to Hong Kong as China.

Beckham posted a video of Hong Kong on Instagram and Facebook, saying he had a “great 48 hours in China” — something netizens quickly picked up on.

It’s a touchy subject for many in Hong Kong, which was handed back to China in 1997 after over a century of British rule. Plenty of Hong Kongers still see the island as largely independent from the mainland. Read more…

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Trump advisor Steve Bannon ordered conservative Republicans to vote for Trumpcare and they just laughed at him

Trumpcare went down in flames yesterday, and the flames smelled faintly of burning Trumphair. But the president’s personal humiliation was shared with adviser Steve Bannon, according to reports, whose behavior around conservative Republicans made a joke of Trump’s ultimatum.

Mike Allen quotes him thus:

“Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

Bannon’s point was: This is the Republican platform. You’re the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But people in the room were put off by the dictatorial mindset.

One of the members replied: “You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”

Bannon’s already plotting his revenge, reports Asawin Suebsaeng.

The general consensus seems to be that the failure to replace Obamacare is unexpectedly bad for both president and GOP: he’s exposed as a crêpe leopard, and them as a bunch of unprincipled bickering morons with nothing to show for 7 years’ empty ranting about Obamacare.

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Sorry Trump, even Fox News thinks your wiretapping claim is BS

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Not everyone at Donald Trump’s favorite news network is gobbling up his latest piece of red meat.  

Fox News anchor Shep Smith countered Trump once again Friday, this time aiming his measured, declaratory tone at the president’s outlandish claim that his predecessor was wiretapping him.

“Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way,” anchor Shep Smith said during a Friday broadcast. “Full stop.”

Smith’s “full stop” comment, which was spread widely on social media, comes after analyst Andrew Napolitano claimed on Fox & Friends Tuesday that “three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command” and requested British intelligence officials spy on Trump. Read more…

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The best reactions to that rogue McDonald's Trump tweet

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On Thursday morning, your friendly neighborhood McDonald’s served a hot take on the state of U.S. politics alongside its standard fare of Egg McMuffin sandwiches.

“@realDonaldTrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands,” someone tweeted from one of the fast food giant’s verified accounts. 

The message was deleted a few minutes later, but not before folks could grab screenshots for posterity.

In a tweet posted almost an hour after the incident, McDonald’s simply stated that their account “was compromised,” and that they are investigating the situation. Read more…

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Here's the woman who offered U.S. citizenship to the highest bidder at the Shanghai marriage market

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That’s certainly one way to get noticed.

At the Shanghai marriage market, parents of single folks gather to show off their children’s credentials, in hopes of netting them a spouse.

But over the weekend, a woman, dressed in a wedding gown and holding her American passport, caught the eye of many for the prize she was dangling — U.S. citizenship.

Image: Weibo

Alas, she wasn’t for real.

The woman, has been identified as Erin Peisert, an American performance artist currently based in Shanghai.

In viral photos circulating on Weibo and Instagram, she’s shown holding up a sign saying “USA Citizenship through marriage to the highest bidder,” as she is surrounded by curious onlookers. Read more…

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India hoists its tallest flag at the border but some are highly unimpressed

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Indians have a new selfie spot to show off their national pride. 

The Tricolor was hoisted on the country’s tallest flag post (360 feet) at the Indo-Pak Attari Border on Sunday. And in no time, locals and tourists thronged the venue to witness the sight.

The 120-feet-long and 80-feet-wide flag was unveiled by a member of India’s ruling political party.

India’s tallest (350 feets high) National Flag hosted at the reception Centre of Wagah Border today. Jai Hind 🇮🇳🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/3NDn5PCwDM

— Kamal Sharma (@kamalsharmabjp) March 5, 2017 Read more…

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Obsessed with the Trump-Russia drama? You're doing it right.

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Maybe your spouse is worried about you. Perhaps it’s your employer. They’ve noticed marked declines in your attention in recent weeks. Just stop refreshing the New York Times and Washington Post, they say. Turn off CNN. Or if you’re into the harder stuff: Stop. Checking. Twitter

Maybe you too have started to wonder whether you’re getting too obsessed with the Trump-Russia storyline right now. The news is coming so thick and fast, it can be hard not to stare slack-jawed at each new development. 

But do you absolutely have to read every new drop of information about Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak? Did you really have to watch that whole mad-ass Carter Page interview, instead of just the edited bit, where the Trump associate admitted meeting that same gentleman from Moscow at the GOP convention?  Read more…

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This 'Basket of Deplorables' board game is perfect for Trump haters

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One Bernie Sanders supporter is still feeling the burn and in anticipation for the next presidential election (no, not again!) has created an aptly named political board game, “Basket of Deplorables.”

As you move along the board (aka the “campaign trail”) as either Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sander or Hillary Clinton you hit various bumps and hurdles in your attempt to kick Donald Trump out of the White House. 

You also pick up “deplorables” to put in your basket along the way, as an homage to Clinton’s insult slung at Donald Trump supporters during the campaign. And yes, there are 11 deplorable pieces, including a Steve Bannon. Read more…

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Trump tells America's attorneys general that Jews might be desecrating their own cemeteries to make him look bad

After a wave of anti-semitic attacks swept America, Donald Trump convened a meeting of state Attorneys General, and repeated a conspiracy theory posted hours before to a neo-Nazi website that suggested that Jews had perpetrated the attacks as a false-flag operation to make the Trump administration look bad.
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What the type of steak you eat says about you

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Ask yourself honestly: Can you really love someone who doesn’t cook steak at the same temperature as you?

After The IJR published a bombshell story this weekend alleging that the President Trump had ordered well-done steak again — again! — the hundreds of dorks who actually care about this stuff erupted in outrage on Twitter. 

Traditional liberal outlets condemned the president for degrading the sacred meat, while conservative personalities like Paul Joseph Watson slammed dissenters as “idiot hipsters.” The way you cook your meat, both sides seemingly genuinely argued, has everything to do with the way you see the world. Read more…

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Hmm, maybe this is why Trump doesn't want to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner

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On Saturday, Donald Trump made history as the first president to bow out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

And while this has much to do with Trump’s ever-worsening battle with the press and his constant struggle to book talent, it’s also worth remembering that, to be frank, Trump probably has another reason for ditching:

He usually gets clobbered at these things.

So, in the interest of, uh, elucidation, please enjoy these videos of Trump getting roasted at the 2011 and 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Better yet, enjoy Trump’s mirthless reactions. They’re uncomfortable to watch, but extremely worth it. Read more…

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Donald Trump makes history, bows out of White House Correspondents dinner

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Amid an ever-escalating war with the media, Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that he wouldn’t attend the White House Correspondents Association’s annual dinner. The dinner is an opportunity for a comedian to roast the press and the president, and for the president to roast everyone else. Trump’s absence would mark the first time in the event’s history a president has refused to attend. 

I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017

The president offered no explanation for the decision, but it’s not hard to chance a few guesses for his reasoning. Among the possibilities:  Read more…

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Sweden's embassy in the U.S. is looking forward to schooling Trump

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So as President Donald Trump has already figured out, there were a few things that happened in Sweden on Friday. 

There was the car chase of a drunk driver, a major road closure, and a technical problem in the rehearsal of the country’s annual singing competition “Melodifestivalen.” But terror related? Certainly not.

Speaking at a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on Saturday, Trump alluded to a terrorism incident in Sweden as part of his argument for implementing his immigration ban. He ticked off a list of places affected by terrorism, taking aim at Europe’s immigration policies.  Read more…

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1917: A young FDR gets into fighting shape with Woodrow Wilson's cabinet

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Cabinet officials perform exercises led by Walter Camp.

Image: Library of Congress

Walter Camp is known today as the “Father of American Football” for his contributions to the rules of the game, including the development of the line of scrimmage and the system of downs.

He was also an outspoken advocate of exercise and physical fitness

With the entry of the United States into World War I in 1917, Camp was appointed director of the U.S. Navy Training Camps’ Physical Development Program.

Disappointed by the sorry shape of most recruits, Camp devised a simple eight-minute exercise routine he called the “Daily Dozen,” a sequence of calisthenic motions including “hands, grind, crawl, wave, hips, grate, curl, weave, head, grasp, crouch and wing.” Read more…

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Another Trump diss gets some beautiful merch

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The sharp diss Donald Trump lobbed at a BBC editor on Thursday has been immortalized into a t-shirt, because why not, it’s 2017.

“Here’s another beauty” was the sarcastic quip an angry Trump threw at BBC North America Editor Jon Sopel during a press conference. When Sopel tried asking Trump a question about his blocked travel ban, he cut him off and asked what news outlet he was with. And the rest is history. 

Sopel swiftly defended the BBC to no avail: “That’s a good line,” Sopel said, trying to hold back as he defended his organization, saying “Impartial, free and fair.”

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Trump is causing a political app boom, data shows

Capitol Building. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Marìa Helena Carey Anyone surprised by this? The growth of politically-focused mobile apps has been booming since November, with the top five political apps receiving a combined 300,000 downloads across iOS and Android over the past three months, according to new data from App Annie. This list doesn’t include news media applications, but rather those apps aimed helping people find their representatives,… Read More

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Kate McKinnon and Hillary Clinton spotted processing this hellscape together

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Two Hillary Clintons walk into a bar and simultaneously declare, “I’m with her.”

The real Hillary Clinton and Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live‘s resident HRC impersonator, caught up over dinner this week and for the first time, we’re wondering if Amy Poehler ever gets FOMO. 

According to Page Six, the pair laughed as they dined at Orso in Manhattan on Wednesday evening.  One diner put their own spin on the Trump supporter chant and yelled, “lock him up!” 

After dinner, Clinton checked out Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard and the winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election got a standing ovation from the crowd.  Read more…

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Trump EPA nominee Scott Pruitt ordered to release his fossil fuel emails, as EPA staff revolt

A state judge today ordered the office of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to release thousands of documents, including emails, related to Pruitt’s conversations with energy industry executives. Tomorrow, the United States Senate votes on Pruitt’s nomination to run the Environmental Protection Agency, for the administration of Donald Trump.

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Here's the weirdest, scariest stuff Trump said at today's 'I’m not ranting and raving' meltdown

“Peace through strength,” Donald Trump said to reporters today in a rambling, aggressive, monologue news conference that lasted nearly about an hour and a half. Trump rattled on in circular patterns about plans to “build and rebuild” the “great” military and law enforcement. He dodged questions on Flynn, Obamacare, leaked reports of turmoil within the administration, and expressed outrage at being questioned repeatedly about “this whole Russia scam that you guys are building so that you don’t talk about the real subject which is illegal leaks.”

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Trump aides were in constant contact with top Russian officials during campaign

This is so much bigger than Watergate. America has not seen a political crisis of this magnitude for generations. The other shoe drops on #Flynngate tonight. Trump, Manafort, and Flynn’s activities “raise a red flag.” The U.S. government is in “unbelievable turmoil.” Who is in charge of America?

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Make rules, not love? Pakistan bans Valentine's Day for being un-Islamic

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All is fair in love and war. Or may be not. 

A Pakistan court on Monday banned Valentine’s Day celebrations across the country “with immediate effect,” the Press Trust of India reported.

The order was issued by the Islamabad High Court on hearing a petition submitted by a citizen who claimed that Valentine’s Day was not a part of Muslim tradition and its promotions on mainstream and social media should be banned.

A circular was also doing the rounds on social media. 

Pakistan’s High Court not only bans Valentine’s Day but tells media to not publish anything about itpic.twitter.com/7U5GJLA02E

— Natasha Fatah (@NatashaFatah) February 14, 2017 Read more…

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