Tuesday, October 17, 2017

U.S. Senate: Bipartisan Agreement Emerges To Stablize Obamacare


The Hill is reporting that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have announced a bipartisan agreement to stabilize the Affordable Care Act.

The deal would extend key Obamacare payments to insurers for two years and give states more flexibility to change Obamacare rules.

President Trump had announced he was cutting off the payments last week, a move that many said would raise ObamaCare premiums and lower enrollment.

Developing story...

Donald Trump Politicizes Military Death Of His Chief Of Staff's Son


Donald Trump doubled down on his completely false accusation that President Obama never called the families of fallen military service members today by politicizing the death of Chief of Staff John Kelly's son who was killed in action in 2010.

“You could ask General Kelly if he got a call from Obama,” Trump said.

While it's not clear that President Obama called Kelly by phone to offer condolences, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reports the retired general and his wife joined first lady Michelle Obama at her table during a White House breakfast for Gold Star families in 2011.

For the most part, Kelly has kept the loss and his grief private.

From Raw Story:

Second Lt. Robert Kelly was killed at age 29 while leading a platoon in Afghanistan in November 2010, and his father delivered a speech four days later about military sacrifices and the troops’ growing isolation from society.

His father has largely avoided speaking publicly about his family’s loss since then, and asked the Marine Corps officer who introduced him ahead of that impassioned speech not to mention his son.

“We are only one of 5,500 American families who have suffered the loss of a child in this war,” Kelly told the Washington Post six years ago. “The death of my boy simply cannot be made to seem any more tragic than the others.”

For Trump to bring up such an intensely private matter for his Chief of Staff to try and score political points against Obama is beyond the pale.





Democrats Lead Republicans In Generic House Poll 51%-37%


A new CNN poll has good news for the Democrats regarding the 2018 election cycle.

Dems have a 14 percentage point lead over Republicans in a generic House ballot.

Of those surveyed, 51% say they would cast a ballot for the Democrat in their district; 37% say they would vote for the Republican.

Also, while 88% of Repubs say they would vote for the GOP candidate in their congressional district, while nearly all - 98% - of Democrats say they plan to vote for the Dem candidate.

Currently, Republicans control the House with a 240 seat majority. Dems will need to flip 24 seats in the 2018 midterms to regain the majority. There are 23 GOP House members in districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The same poll shows Donald Trump's approval rating languishing at a low 37%.

John McCain To Donald Trump: "I Have Faced Tougher Adversaries"

Sen. John McCain
Last night in Philadelphia, six-term Republican Sen. John McCain was honored with the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal for a lifetime of service and sacrifice to the country.

In accepting the award, McCain spoke of his two decades of military service including his 5+ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He also addressed the current fractured political landscape today in Washington.

“To abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” he said, “is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

Clearly the "half-baked, spurious nationalism" was a jab meant for Donald Trump.

Trump being Trump, the president felt the need to slap back this morning during a radio interview with WMAL in Washington saying, “I’m being very, very nice but at some point, I fight back and it won’t be pretty.”

McCain, having survived over five years as a prisonoer of war in Vietnam and currently facing brain cancer, had a simple response to the president: "I have faced tougher adversaries."

FTW!

Trump and McCain have had a long history of acrimony going back to the last presidential campaign when Trump claimed McCain was not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam.

This past summer, it was McCain's "no" vote in the Senate that torpedoed Trump's last try at repealing Obamacare.

On the other end of the class spectrum, Barack Obama - who faced McCain in the 2008 presidential election - congratulated McCain on being honored:



(source)

Donald Trump's Wealth Drops By A Whopping $600 Million


Forbes is reporting that the value of Donald Trump's wealth declined so much in 2016 that he dropped 92 spots on the list of richest people in America.

A tough New York real estate market, a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign all contributed to the declining fortune of the 45th president. After months of digging through financial disclosures and public property records and conducting dozens of interviews, Forbes now estimates POTUS’ net worth at $3.1 billion, down from $3.7 billion a year ago. He drops to No. 248 in the ranks of the richest people in America, down from No. 156 in 2016.

The biggest hit was to Trump’s real estate portfolio, which is weighted heavily toward New York City. Values of several Manhattan properties, particularly those on or near Fifth Avenue, have dropped, shaving nearly $400 million off his fortune.

Some of his golf properties, including ones in Miami, Ireland and Scotland, have also declined in value, as some would-be guests stayed away, apparently offended by the president’s politics and bombast. Trump’s cash pile is down an estimated $100 million since last year, after he spent $66 million on his campaign and $25 million settling a lawsuit over Trump University. As always, we refined our estimates based on new information uncovered during months of reporting.

Monday, October 16, 2017

News Round-Up: October 16, 2017

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Fitness model Rodiney Santiago (above) facing down Monday like a boss.

• Thanks to California's newly signed Gender Recognition Act, folks will soon be able to identify as nonbinary, in addition to male or female, on state-issued identity documents, including driver's licenses and birth certificates.

• Considering he has never been a friend to the LGBT community, eyebrows were raised when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent an experienced hate crime lawyer to Iowa to aid in prosecuting a man accused of killing a transgender high school student.

• In pop culture news, original Charlie's Angels star Jaclyn Smith says the ladies of the hit 1970s series are thinking about getting together for a reunion. In addition to Jaclyn (Kelly), the surviving "angels" are Cheryl Ladd (Kris), 66; Kate Jackson (Sabrina), 68; Tanya Roberts (Julie), 61; and Shelley Hack (Tiffany), 70.

• Out radio show/columnist Dan Savage has raised over $200K via his ITMFA website. Upon hitting the second $100K, he sent checks to Planned Parenthood ($33,333.33), the ACLU ($33,333.33) and the International Refugee Assistance Project ($33,333.34). The money was raised selling ITMFA (“Impeach The Mother Fucker Already”) buttons, t-shirts, tanks, hats, stickers, coffee cups, and lapel pins at www.ITMFA.org.

• Transgender hip hop artist Epiphany Mattel released her debut single, "Fix Yo Face," which she says has an important message. “It’s about everyone going above and beyond with their appearance to stand out and be noticed at clubs today, but then they bring their scowl, a ‘resting bitch face,’ that makes them unapproachable,” explains Mattel.

“They’re so insecure with themselves, they push that negative energy on the rest of the party and make everyone else uncomfortable. It's a party bitches… lighten the hell up,” she adds.

Watch the music video below:

Documentary: "George Michael: Freedom"

George Michael

In celebration of the reissue of the late George Michael’s iconic album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1, Sony Music together with Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide have commissioned George Michael: Freedom, a stunning new film, narrated by George himself.

George Michael: Freedom tells the gripping, dramatic story of the making of Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, the court case which followed and George’s personal struggle and pain as he loses Anselmo.

You may recall George decided he would not appear on Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1’s album cover or be available to physically promote the album beyond select interviews, but instead gave the label the David Fincher-directed "Freedom! ‘90," which featured five of the most recognizable beauties on the planet, lip-syncing in place of George.

George succeeded in reuniting the Freedom! '90 video’s five supermodels: Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista.

Other contributors include world famous artists such as Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Liam Gallagher, Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett, Nile Rodgers, Kate Moss, Ricky Gervais, Jean-Paul Gaultier and James Corden.

George Michael: Freedom airs in the UK on October 16, and will premiere in the US this Saturday/October 21st at 9pm ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

Also, a remastered version of George’s amazing 1996 MTV Unplugged performance will also be available as an album for the very first time as part of the Deluxe box set, 2CD and digital editions.

The concert took place in East London on October 11, 1996 and featured George playing ten of his finest songs from the Wham!, Faith, Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 (Freedom ’90) and more.

  Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 will also be reissued on vinyl.



George Michael Listen Without Prejudice / MTV Unplugged Track listings:

3 CD/1 DVD LIMITED EDITION BOX

CD1 Listen Without Prejudice (Remastered)

1 Praying For Time
2 Freedom! '90
3 They Won't Go When I Go
4 Something To Save
5 Cowboys And Angels
6 Waiting For That Day
7 Mother's Pride
8 Heal The Pain
9 Soul Free
10 Waiting (Reprise)

CD2 MTV Unplugged

1 Freedom! '90
2 Fastlove
3 I Can't Make You Love Me
4 Father Figure
5 You Have Been Loved
6 Everything She Wants
7 Strangest Thing
8 Older
9 Star People
10 Praying For Time
11 Fantasy featuring Nile Rodgers

CD3 B Sides & Rarities

1. Soul Free (Special Radio Edit)
2. Freedom! (Back To Reality Mix)
3. Freedom (Back To Reality Mix Edit)
4. Fantasy 90
5. Freedom (Edit)
6. Cowboys & Angels
7. If You Were My Woman
8. Too Funky (Edit)
9. Crazy Man Dance
10. Do You Really Want To Know
11. Happy
12. Too Funky (Extended)
13. Too Jazzy (Happy Mix)
14. Fantasy 98
15. George Michael with Paul McCartney – Heal The Pain
16. George Michael with Astrud Gilberto – Desafinado

DVD

1. The Southbank Show 1990
2. Freedom! '90 promo
3. Praying For Time promo
4. Freedom 90 MTV 10th Anniversary


2 CD EDITION

CD1 Listen Without Prejudice (Remastered)

1 Praying For Time
2 Freedom! '90
3 They Won't Go When I Go
4 Something To Save
5 Cowboys And Angels
6 Waiting For That Day
7 Mother's Pride
8 Heal The Pain
9 Soul Free
10 Waiting (Reprise)

CD2 MTV Unplugged

1 Freedom! '90
2 Fastlove
3 I Can't Make You Love Me
4 Father Figure
5 You Have Been Loved
6 Everything She Wants
7 Strangest Thing
8 Older
9 Star People
10 Praying For Time
11 Fantasy featuring Nile Rodgers

Listen Without Prejudice - Vinyl

SIDE A

1 Praying For Time
2 Freedom! '90
3 They Won't Go When I Go
4 Something To Save
5 Cowboys And Angels

SIDE B

1 Waiting for That Day
2 Mothers Pride
3 Heal The Pain
4 Soul Free
5 Waiting (Reprise)

Trailer: "Black Panther"


Squeee!!!

Regular readers know I'm a big fan of comic book super hero movies. So imagine me this morning when I see the visually stunning new trailer for the upcoming Black Panther from Marvel Studios.

The superhero flick chronicles T'Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and Black Panther — is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

In addition to the visuals - and the eye candy of Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, I'm thrilled to see the African culture being incorporated into it.

Chadwick Boseman stars in the title role, with Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis also starring.

The movie hits theaters on February 16, 2018.

It looks amazing. Watch the trailer below.



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