Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By AP News, Feb. 17, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The national outrage that simmered after actor Jussie Smollett said he was attacked by people shouting racial and anti-gay slurs was fueled in part by celebrities who spoke out loud and strong on social media.

But the outrage has now been replaced by surprise, doubt and bafflement as the singers, actors and politicians who came out in support of the “Empire” star struggle to digest the strange twists the case has taken. Some conservative pundits, meanwhile, have gleefully seized on the moment.

By National Review, Feb. 18, 2019

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted the ominous words: “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan. MSNBC reported the rumor that they were even wearing MAGA hats.

By National Review, Feb. 19, 2019

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a sandwich. On his way back, he was accosted by two men wearing red hats who called him the f-word and the n-word. They then tossed a clothesline around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted, “This is MAGA country!”

By Fox News, Feb. 19, 2019

The attorneys general of California, New York, and 14 other states on Monday filed a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit against the White House's recent national emergency declaration over border security, claiming President Trump has "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."

President Trump sarcastically had predicted the lawsuit last week. He's slammed the Ninth Circuit multiple times as "disgraceful" and politically biased.

By CWB Chicago, Feb. 18, 2019

On Friday, Jan. 18th, a letter was dropped into a mailbox in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.

The envelope was addressed in childlike scrawl to Empire TV star Jussie Smollett at Cinespace Studios, a West Side production facility that the Fox program calls home. “MAGA”—the acronym for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”—was sloppily written in the return address space.

By The Wrap, Feb. 18, 2019

Jussie Smollett is not scheduled to meet with investigators today about the assault he reported last month, representatives for the “Empire” star said in a statement on Monday.
“There are no plans for Jussie Smollett to meet with Chicago police today,” Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, said. “Any news reports suggesting otherwise are inaccurate. Smollett’s attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf.”

By Washington Times, Feb. 18, 2019

The two men who were arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett denied attacking the black, gay actor or having any prejudice against him.

In a statement released through their lawyers to Chicago media, brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo said they are cooperating with law enforcement.

By Seven Day SVT, Feb. 20, 2019

Within 24 hours of joining the race for president Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reeled in more than $5.9 million, according to his campaign. The money came from roughly 223,000 individual donors. 

The campaign said it also signed up $600,000 worth of recurring, monthly donations.

By National Review, Feb. 18, 2019

When future historians reflect back on our present moment, it’s entirely possible that liberal California judges, rather than the Trump administration, will get credit for pulling the plug on the progressive experiment of denying basic due-process rights to American male college students. That’s the takeaway from a stunning Los Angeles Times report from late last week. California’s university justice system — by far the largest in the United States — is reeling not because of Trump’s Department of Education but because of a series of rulings from California courts:

By Hot Air, Feb. 18, 2019

Color me shocked, shocked that a self-professed socialist would think that the East Germans built the Berlin Wall to keep the capitalists out. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) mused on the “moral abomination” of Donald Trump’s planned wall on the southern border, saying in a self-produced video that “it’s like the Berlin Wall.” Ryan Saavedra takes historical exception to the comment (via Twitchy):

By Quillette, Feb. 18, 2019

Camila worked for Ristretto Roasters, my husband Din’s coffee roasting company in Portland, Oregon, for five years. She received regular promotions and by 2016 was earning a mid-five figure salary. In October of last year, Camila resigned. The end.

Or, the end until last month, when she sent an email to more than two dozen former and current Ristretto Roasters employees, alerting them to the YouTube series, #MeNeither Show, that fellow journalist Leah McSweeney and I launched in December 2018. In three half-hour episodes, we had discussed, among other topics, celebrities who have exploited the #MeToo movement, and the difference between sexual predators and those swept-up in the excesses of the current moment. The show’s “about” page reads, “#MeNeither is an almost-weekly conversation about the cultural issues of the day, and an attempt to create a space where people can find ways to think out loud through uncomfortable topics.”

By USA Today, Feb. 18, 2019

Ryan Belcher was leaving work Thursday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Michigan, when the powerlifter heard a loud noise in the distance, he told Detroit's WXYZ-TV.

"I just hear a big smash and, as I look out, a crowd of people are coming and this vehicle is flipped upside down," Belcher said, "and my first instinct was to just take off out there."

By Muscle And Fitness, Feb. 18, 2019

Border wall, border fence, or border barrier? Border security is certainly the most prominent issue currently facing the Republican Party but how to define it may be an even larger problem.

While the government shutdown plagued Congress for over a month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Tulare) said last week that starting this week, his goal in border security negotiations will involve reaching an agreement on a new border barrier. Furthermore, McCarthy said he doesn’t care what anyone calls it, echoing past statements made by President Trump.

By Daily Wire, Feb. 18, 2019

On January 29, 2019, Chicago Police opened a hate crime investigation into the alleged assault of Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett, who is black and gay, alleged that two men approached him at 2 a.m. in Chicago, where they shouted “f*****” and “n*****,” tried to wrap a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him. He also told TMZ that the men shouted, “This is MAGA country.”

By Investigative Project, Feb. 19, 2019

Preventing or even minimizing prison radicalization is always a challenge. It's more difficult, however, when we continually fail to vet the chaplains who minister to inmates.

Germany appears to have learned this lesson recently. Authorities there recently discovered that over 85 percent of their Muslim prison chaplains were actually agents of the Turkish government, the Gatestone Institute reports. Those clerics had to be terminated after the Turkish government refused to have them go through security checks, which are required by German law for all prison chaplains. 

By NBC News, Feb. 19, 2019

As the police investigation into the alleged attack against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett continues, it was revealed Tuesday that in 2007 Smollett pleaded no contest to DUI, driving without a license and providing false information to law enforcement, the L.A. City Attorney's office confirmed to NBC News.

Smollett, now 36, was sentenced to two years probation and a choice of a fine or jail in the 2007 case, an L.A. City Attorney's spokesman told NBC News.

By California Globe, Feb. 19, 2019

The Trump administration is set to launch a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in dozens of nations where anti-gay laws are still on the books, NBC News reported Monday. While on its surface, the move looks like an atypically benevolent decision by the Trump administration, the details of the campaign belie a different story. Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.

By market Watch, Feb. 19, 2019

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge on Tuesday gave the green light to a lawsuit filed by a parks-advocacy group that aims to stop for good the delayed construction of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million presidential center in a Chicago park beside Lake Michigan.

Some supporters of the project fear the lawsuit filed by Protect Our Parks could force Obama — who launched his political career in Chicago — to build the Obama Presidential Center elsewhere. A 2016 lawsuit brought by another group helped to scuttle a $400 million plan by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas to build a museum on public land on Chicago’s lakefront. That museum is now under construction in Los Angeles.

By Philly, Feb. 19, 2019

Some of the allegations were redacted, with entire pages of the 38-page document blacked out. Names and details of those allegedly raped by Nordo were among the redactions.

Still, according to the presentment, the grand jury found that Nordo “repeatedly contacted young men that he sought to groom,” and used threats and flattery to “make the targets of his advances more susceptible to his sexually assaultive and/or coercive behavior.” Prosecutors said Nordo’s tactics included threatening to arrest or jail suspects without probable cause, fraudulently steering reward money their way, and projecting his dominance — sometimes by displaying his firearm, other times by targeting handcuffed prisoners.

By Yahoo, Feb. 19, 2019

Washington (AFP) - More massive than the US economy, the national debt hit a new record of $22 trillion under President Donald Trump but Republicans who traditionally rail against debt and deficits have remained mum.

The sum of borrowing to cover chronic deficits as well as growing interest payments, this mountain of debt already stood at $19.95 trillion when Trump entered the White House, reaching the equivalent of US GDP for the first time since World War II.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

By CBS News, Feb. 18, 2019

(CBS) –“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, upset after a racist letter sent to the show’s studio didn’t get a “bigger reaction,” is suspected of paying two men to attack him a week later, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.

“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source told CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards. Other sources corroborated that information.

By WND, Feb. 18, 2019

After saying she was deleting the Twitter app from her phone in January amid the Covington boys controversy, Kirsten Powers, a former Fox News analyst who now works at CNN and USA Today, is back on social media, admitting she’s “not proud” of what she found upon self-examination.

“I have spent the last few weeks in a mostly Twitter free zone to spend time reflecting on what role I may have played in what indisputably has become a dangerously toxic culture. I am not proud of what I have found,” Powers began.

By NY Post, Feb. 18, 2019

Anthony Weiner has gone from hard time to a Bronx halfway house after being convicted for sexting an underage girl.

But even a registered sex offender’s got to eat — and The Post was there Sunday as Weiner popped outside his new Bronx digs to grab a delivery order.

By Daily Mail., Feb. 17, 2019

Empire star Jussie Smollett has furiously denied paying two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to attack him and says he is 'angered and devastated' after investigators in Chicago claimed he orchestrated his own assault.    

Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, told Entertainment Weekly: 'As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.