Friday, February 24, 2017

Shep Smith Defends CNN Again: "CNN's Reporting Is Not Fake News"

Shep Smith

Yet again, Fox News' Shepard Smith took to the airwaves today to defend CNN after White House press secretary Sean Spicer excluded CNN and others from a closed door press "gaggle."

“For the record, ‘fake news’ refers to stories that are created, often by entities pretending to be news organizations, solely to draw clicks and views and are based on nothing of substance.

“In short, fake news is made up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN’s reporting was not fake news. Its journalists followed the same standards to which other news organizations, including Fox News, adhere.”

Watch below:

Activists Prank CPAC With "Russian" Trump Flags

(image via Facebook)
Activists Jason Charter and Ryan Clayton of the group Americans Take Action pranked the conservative event CPAC today by passing out red, white and blue flags with the word "Trump" on them.

Only problem was - it was the wrong "red, white and blue."

From Talking Points Memo:

Charter, 22, told TPM by phone that he and Clayton organized the prank in order to "honor Trump's relationship with Putin." He said almost no one at CPAC seemed to realize the flag he handed them bore the horizontal red, white, and blue stripes of the Russian Federation underneath Trump's name.

"I asked people if they wanted a Trump flag and they took it," Charter said. "Many Trump supporters were proudly waving their Russian Trump flag."

"I think it says a lot about Donald Trump's base and their education level," he said. "I don't want to insult anyone, but I think you should know what the Russian flag is. They are one of the world's major powers, and it's a pretty easily recognized flag."

CPAC staff quickly confiscated the flags, but not before the embarrassing image went viral on social media.

Viral Video: "The Big Deal"

An Australian birthday party turns tense when a young man stands and shares a secret about himself.

What happens when he comes out to his family regarding a very personal choice?

"A simple difference shouldn't be a big deal"

From the organizers of The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival which is currently under way in Australia.

Watch below:

Utah House Committee Advances Bill To Criminalize Non-Disclosure Of HIV+ Status

By a vote of 9-2, the Utah state House Judiciary Committee has approved new legislation that would require folks to disclose HIV/AIDS status or face criminal penalties.

By a vote of 9-2, the Utah state House Judiciary Committee has approved new legislation that would require folks to disclose HIV/AIDS status or face criminal penalties.

House Bill 369 now heads to the full House for debate.

LGBT advocates and AIDS support groups worry that such legislation could discourage people from getting tested for HIV. Executive director of the LGBT rights group Equality Utah, Troy Williams worries that enacting statutes like HB369 were “starting down a path toward criminalizing people with HIV.”

But Republicans on the committee say there's no reason status shouldn't be disclosed by consenting adults. “To knowingly put another person at risk of harm to their body,” Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, said. “Why should that not be a crime?”

At one point, a proposal was put forth that would include disclosing any sexually transmitted disease, but that amendment failed.


White House Press Secretary Holds "Invite Only" Press Gaggle With Select Media Outlets

Sean Spicer

Several White House reporters were surprised and outraged today as White House press secretary Sean Spicer chose to hold a private press gaggle in his office inviting "friendly" media outlets but blocking several that President Trump has publicly deemed as having less-than-favorable reports on his administration.

From The Hill:

Spicer decided to hold an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were news organizations that President Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN.

The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.

Several right-leaning outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network.

A number of major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters and Bloomberg.

The White House Correspondents’ Association sharply criticized the decision.

“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today's gaggle is being handled by the White House,” Jeff Mason, the association’s president, said in a statement.

“We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” he added. “The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The "invitation only" presser drew quick rebuke from journalists.

From the New York Times:

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”

And then these from Twitter:

Hillary Clinton For Democrats: "Let Resistance Plus Persistence Equal Progress"

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reaches out to fellow Democrats just a day before the party is set to elect it's next party chair.

During the three minute video, Clinton rallies the Dems for the work and elections that lie ahead.

“Ideas we championed are now inspiring leaders and activists across our country. Nearly sixty-six million votes are fueling grass roots energy and activism.

"And everywhere people are marching, protesting, tweeting, speaking out and working for an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.

“We as Democrats must move forward with courage, confidence and optimism, and stay focused on the elections we must win this year and next,” she said. “Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country.”

President Trump Plans To "Do Something" About Press Use Of Unnamed Sources

President Trump told the crowd at CPAC today he plans to "do something about" the media's use of unnamed sources.

Via Deadline:

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,’ Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of conservatives at their annual gathering outside Washington, D.C.

“I want you all to know we are fighting the fake news. Phoney. Fake,” he said to roars of approval.

“I called the fake news the enemy of the people, and they are.. because they have no sources; they just make them up when there are none. They make up sources” he said.

“And they shouldn’t use ‘sources’,” he said, adding they should be required to put the names of everyone to whom they speak into their reports. The end result he explained, “you will see stories dry up like you’ve never been before.”

Considering we have the First Amendment, I don't think El Trumpo will be doing anything about how the free press utilizes named or unnamed sources.

You'll recall back in the day, the president liked to call NYC media and pretend to be "Donald Trump's publicist" to drop blind items about himself in the newspapers.

Caitlyn Jenner: "This Is A Disaster"

Donald Trump supporter Caitlin Jenner took to her Instagram last night to declare, "I have a message for President Trump from one Republican to another. This is a disaster and you can still fix it. You may have promised to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.”

The video message was in regards to the Trump administration reversing course on protections for transgender students.

Jenner also included a message in the video's caption, which read:

“I have a message for the trans kids of America. You are winning. I know it doesn’t feel that way today or every day, but you _ are _ winning. You are going to keep on winning so much you’re going to get sick of winning. Very soon, we’ll win full freedom nationwide, and it’s going to happen with bipartisan support. For all our friends out there, If you want to be part of this winning side, you can help by checking out the National Center for Trans Equality and letting Washington hear how you feel loud and clear. (Link in bio!) Now…I also have a message for the bullies. You suck. You’re losers and you’re going to keep on losing. Because you’re weak, you pick on kids or you pick on women or anyone you think is vulnerable. Apparently even becoming the Attorney General isn’t enough to cure some of you of your insecurity. As proof that you can’t stop our progress, the Supreme Court will soon hear an important Title Nine case thanks to the courage of a brave young man named Gavin Grimm. See you in court!”

You may recall that Jenner is a devout Republican who supported Sen. Ted Cruz in his White House bid last year, called Hillary Clinton a "liar" and has repeatedly said she feels she can be an ambassador between the LGBT community and the GOP.

Meme Of The Day

"Someone placed a tiny border wall around Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

Trump Rails At FBI Over 'Leakers'

President Trump took to Twitter this morning (for a change) to complain about leaks to journalists from the FBI and his own White House:

But, let's take a trip in the "way back machine" to a time when the Trumpster looooooved leaks...

Teen Transgender Student: "I Should Be Able To Use The Boys Room" Like My Peers

From CNN:

Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender student, was barred from using the boys' bathroom at his Virginia high school.

Grimm is the plaintiff in a lawsuit that the Supreme Court is set to hear next month.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Laverne Cox Kills On MSNBC Talking Trump's Shift On Trans Student Protections

Transgender actress Laverne Cox absolutely rocked her appearance tonight on MSNBC's Hardball.

We already knew she is an outstanding advocate for the trans community, and her calm, collected and reasoned appearance here underlines that.

I'd break it down for you, but to be honest, it really just needs to be seen.

Bravo, Laverne!

p.s. note how Travis Weber, representing the ironically named Center for Religious Liberty, never - never - answers Matthews' question about which bathroom Laverne should use. #coward

White House Asked FBI To Knock Down Media Reports Regarding Trump/Russia Communications

Folks inside the White House apparently reached out to the FBI (a no-no) with a request to help quiet the ongoing stories in the media about "constant communications" between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

From CNN:

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

Music Video: Calum Scott "Dancing On My Own (1 Mic 1 Take)"

Calum Scott

Former Britain's Got Talent contestant Calum Scott shares this new video for his cover of the Robyn hit, "Dancing On My Own."

The out singer shot this "1 Mic 1 Take" clip at the legendary Capitol Records studios. I don't know why, but black and white video seems to make the subject matter more honest or revealing.

And speaking of honest, the woofy Mr. Scott is honestly handsome :)

“Dancing On My Own” has entered the charts at both Top 40 Pop and AC Radio and continues to climb. The song was the best-selling U.K. single of 2016 by a British solo artist and has been nominated for a Brit Award for Best Single. Calum also recently wrapped up his first North American headline tour, selling out shows across the country.

Calum Scott’s poignant version of Robyn's "Dancing On My Own" quickly charted in over 34 countries on Spotify, peaking at No. 1 on the Viral chart in six countries, including the U.S. The song has charted at No. 1 on iTunes in 11 countries and is certified Platinum in four countries.

In the U.K., it hit #2 on the Official Singles Sales chart and was the most-downloaded song of the summer.

You can download the hit single on iTunes here.

News Round-Up: February 23, 2017

Some news items you may have missed:

• The Twitterverse lost its mind over this (above) pic of Candadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's backside. Let's take a moment, shall we?

• File this under irony - Congressman Louie Gohmert, the man who authored legislation making it legal for people with mental health issues to buy guns, now won't do town hall meetings because he's afraid he'll be killed. Later in the day, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot while in office, issued a statement telling Gohmert to "have some courage."

• Grace Slick, of Jefferson Starship fame, is licensing the band's song "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" to anti-LGBT company Chick-Fil-A for use in a commercial because she's donating all the royalties to Lambda Legal. "I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to 'Check'-fil-A’s causes — and to make a public example of them, too. We’re going to take some of their money, and pay it back."

• The Arkansas state Supreme Court has struck down a city ordinance banning discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Because banning discrimination is a bad thing???

• White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway was reportedly yanked off TV appearances for a week after she went "off message" telling the media that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had the "complete confidence of the president" just hours before being sacked.

• In light of the Trump-Pence Administation rescinding important protections for trans students in schools, dozens of LGBT rights and progressive groups will be leading a protest rally (cosponsored by the New York City Council, GLSEN, GLAAD, and Lambda Legal) this afternoon outside the Stonewall Inn in downtown Manhattan. The event begins at 5:30PM. More info at the event's Facebook page here.

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