Rudy Giuliani joins Trump legal team, hopes to end Russia probe in ‘a week or two’

Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that he will join President Trump’s legal team and hopes to bring an end to the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling in “a week or two.”

“I’m going to join the legal team to try to bring this to a resolution,” Giuliani told The Post.

“The country deserves it. I’ve got great admiration for President Trump.

“I’ve had a long relationship with Bob Mueller. I have great respect for him. He’s done a good job.”

Giuliani, a former US Attorney, served as New York City’s mayor when Mueller was the FBI director.
“I don’t know yet what’s outstanding. But I don’t think it’s going to take more than a week or two to get a resolution. They’re almost there.

“I’m going to ask Mueller, ‘What do you need to wrap it up?’” he said.


Texas school apologizes for asking students to list ‘positive aspects’ of slavery

A charter school in Texas has apologized after eighth-grade students were asked to list the “positive” and “negative” aspects of slavery for an American history class.

“To be clear, there is no debate about slavery. It is immoral and a crime against humanity,” Aaron Kindel, superintendent of Great Hearts Texas, said in a Facebook statement Thursday. “We sincerely apologize for the insensitive nature of this offense.”

Earlier in the week, Roberto Livar posted a picture of the assigned worksheet, titled “The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View,” that his son, Manu, said was asked to complete at Great Hearts Monte Vista North campus in San Antonio, according to HuffPost.

The issue was later brought to the public’s attention when Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, sent out a tweet Thursday, slamming the assignment as “absolutely unacceptable.”

“Asking students to complete such an assignment challenges the reality that slavery was utterly dehumanizing,” Castro said in a statement, according to KENS-TV. “It is also an affront to the basic idea of human liberty. Great Hearts Charter network should do a full review of its history curriculum and those who teach it.”


George H.W. Bush wore socks with books on them to Barbara Bush’s funeral

Former president George H. W. Bush honored his late wife by wearing socks with books on them to her funeral Saturday.

Barbara Bush championed the issue of literacy throughout her life and her husband has a reputation for wearing colorful socks.

“To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, @GeorgeHWBush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush,” tweeted the couple’s spokesman Jim McGrath.

The former first lady, who died Tuesday at 92, formed the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy to fund programs that teach parents in low-income families to read and pass on reading to their children.

“If everyone could read and write, all the problems I worried about could be solved,” she told USA TODAY in 2014. “If you can’t read, you can’t do anything.”

McGrath later tweeted a photo of the socks worn by the 93-year-old.



People are boycotting LA Fitness over racist incident, despite apology

LA Fitness is under fire after an employee asked two black men to leave one of its New Jersey clubs on Monday. The gym chain has since apologized and promised to improve racial sensitivity training among its staffers.

One of the men, Tshyrad Oates, posted videos of the incident on Facebook. Oates wrote on Facebook that he had signed in with a four-day guest pass from his friend, a club member. “After about a half hour, I was approached by this same employee telling me that I had to leave or pay, and I explained to her that I just signed in with her with the guest pass,” he said. “She stated that it was my friend who did not pay (unaware that her manager had already signed him in with his membership pass). My friend stated to her that he is an active and current member and that his gym tag was in his locker.”

Oates says his friend “felt racially profiled and embarrassed by the harassment of this LA Fitness employee in front of other members at the gym.” The two continued working out before they were interrupted again — this time by two police officers, who questioned why they were working out with no memberships.

“We explained to them about our guest pass and rescanned my friend’s member tag, and it resulted in current active status,” Oates said. He and his friend started working out yet again but were reportedly told by an LA Fitness manager just 10 minutes later that they needed to leave. Then, Oates says that five police officers showed up and echoed that demand. Oates said that they weren’t given a reason why and were told that “I was banned from the gym and my friend’s gym membership has been terminated, effective immediately.”


Barbara Bush, Republican matriarch and former first lady, dies at 92

(CNN)Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty and a first lady who elevated the cause of literacy, died Tuesday, according to a statement from her husband’s office. She was 92.

Only the second woman in American history to have had a husband and a son elected President (Abigail Adams was the first), Bush was seen as a plainspoken public figure who was instantly recognizable with her signature white hair and pearl necklaces and earrings. She became a major political figure as her husband, George H.W. Bush, rose to become vice president and president. After they left the White House, she was a potent spokeswoman for two of her sons — George W. and Jeb — as they campaigned for office.

The mother of six children — one of whom, a daughter, Robin, died as a child from leukemia — Barbara Bush raised her fast-growing family in the 1950s and ’60s amid the post-war boom of Texas and the whirl of politics that consumed her husband.

She was at his side during his nearly 30-year political career. He was a US representative for Texas, UN ambassador, Republican Party chairman, ambassador to China and CIA director. He then became Ronald Reagan’s vice president for two terms and won election to the White House in 1988. He left office in 1993 after losing a re-election bid to Bill Clinton.

Quick-witted with a sharp tongue, the feisty Barbara Bush was a fierce defender of her husband and an astute adviser.

As first lady, her principal persona as a devoted wife and mother contrasted in many ways with her peer and predecessor, Nancy Reagan, and her younger successor, Hillary Clinton, both of whom were seen as more intimately involved in their husbands’ presidencies.


Trump proposal would penalize immigrants who use tax credits and other benefits

Immigrants who accept almost any form of welfare or public benefit, even popular tax deductions, could be denied legal U.S. residency under a proposal awaiting approval by the Trump administration, which is seeking to reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States.

According to a draft of the proposal obtained by The Washington Post, immigration caseworkers would be required to consider a much broader range of factors when determining whether immigrants or their U.S.-citizen children are using public benefits or may be likely to do so.

Current rules penalize immigrants who receive cash welfare payments, considering them a “public charge.” But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would widen the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other “non-cash public benefits.”


Sean Spicer to help raise funds for Sen. Warren’s challenger

BOSTON — Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is wading into the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race.

Spicer will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl on April 12 at the Union Oyster House in Boston.
Diehl is among a handful of Republicans challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s up for re-election to another six-year term in November. The Whitman resident served as Donald Trump’s campaign co-chairman in Massachusetts during the 2016 presidential election.

Two other Republicans are vying for the chance to unseat Warren: Beth Lindstrom is a Groton resident and one-time aide to ex-Gov. Mitt Romney. John Kingston is a business executive from Winchester.

Warren began the year with more than $14 million in her campaign account, far ahead of her challengers.

Spicer left Trump’s White House after a few months.


Linda Brown dies; she was at center of Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case

Linda Brown, who as a little girl was at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education US Supreme Court case that ended segregation in schools, has died, a funeral home spokesman said.

Brown died Sunday afternoon in Topeka, Kansas, Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel spokesman Tyson Williams said.
Brown was 9 years old when her father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her at Sumner Elementary School, then an all-white school in Topeka, Kansas.

When the school blocked her enrollment her father sued the Topeka Board of Education. Four similar cases were combined with Brown’s complaint and presented to the Supreme Court as Oliver L. Brown et al v. Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, et al.

The court’s landmark ruling in May 1954 — that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” — led to the desegregation of the US education system. Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP’s special counsel and lead counsel for the plaintiffs, argued the case before the Supreme Court.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer acknowledged Brown’s contribution to American history.

“Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America. Linda Brown’s life reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world.”

Brown was a student at Monroe Elementary School in 1953 and took a bus to school each day.

My father was like a lot of other black parents here in Topeka at that time. They were concerned not about the quality of education that their children were receiving, they were concerned about the amount — or distance, that the child had to go to receive an education,” Brown said in a 1985 interview for the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years.”

“He felt that it was wrong for black people to have to accept second-class citizenship, and that meant being segregated in their schools, when in fact, there were schools right in their neighborhoods that they could attend, and they had to go clear across town to attend an all-black school. And this is one of the reasons that he became involved in this suit, because he felt that it was wrong for his child to have to go so far a distance to receive a quality education.”

Monroe and Sumner elementary schools became National Historic Landmarks on May 4, 1987, according to the National Park Service. President George H.W. Bush signed the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Act of 1992 on October 26, 1992, which established Monroe as a national park.


Student marchers call Washington’s inaction on gun violence unacceptable

Survivors of the deadly shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school led hundreds of thousands Saturday in March for Our Lives events across the country, delivering a resounding message that Washington’s inaction on the scourge of gun violence is no longer acceptable.

Building on the momentum of last week’s National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised with gun violence have mobilized Americans with impassioned pleas for stricter gun control laws while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn, welcome to the revolution,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky told the throngs in Washington, where the march turned into a thunderous, standing-room-only rally.

“Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware.”


Police investigate possible 6th explosion in Texas

Austin’s interim Chief of Police Brian Manley (L) and Assistant Chief Troy Gay speak in a neighborhood while investigating a bombing in Austin, Texas, on Monday. Photo by Stephen Spillman/EPA

March 20 (UPI) — Emergency officials responded Tuesday evening to an explosion at a Goodwill store in South Austin as the region remains on edge from a series of bombs this month.

Austin-Travis EMS said officials transported a man in his 30s to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
It’s unclear if the explosion is directly related to six other bombs — five of which detonated, one of which did not — police said are linked in and around the city since the beginning of March. If so, it would be the third bomb found Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Sunset Valley police department said the agency is investigating the possibility the six confirmed related bombs are linked to a private package delivery office in Sunset Valley, an enclave in the capital of Texas.

The police department said there were no known public safety threats to Sunset Valley residents or others in the area, but urged residents to report any suspicious packages, items, or occurrences

Earlier Tuesday, a package bomb headed for Austin exploded at a FedEx sorting facility near San Antonio. Police later found another package containing an explosive device at another FedEx facility near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
A FedEx employee sustained a concussion in the blast shortly after midnight at the Schertz, Texas, facility located about 15 miles northeast of San Antonio.

About 75 employees were working at the processing plant when the package exploded.

Police so far are investigating a total of six bombs or suspicious packages this month. In addition to the one that exploded in Schertz and the suspicious package found at the Austin FedEx facility Monday:

— On March 2, Anthony Stephan House, 39, died in the first bombing attack in East Austin. He was a father and a graduate of Texas State University.

— On March 12, Draylen Mason, 17, died and his mother, Shamika Wilson, was injured in the second of the bomb attacks also in East Austin. Draylen was recently accepted into the selective Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.

— On March 12, Esperanza “Hope” Herrera, 75, sustained injuries when a package left outside her East Austin exploded at her home.
— On Sunday, an explosion injured two men when a package left on their doorstep exploded. Police believe the device was likely triggered by a tripwire. The two men, ages 22 and 23, were expected to survive.

Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley said investigators believe the first four bombs are connected because of similar components and the Schertz bomb could be related. Manley tweeted a statement reminding residents to remain “vigilant.”

An FBI agent said the box that exploded Monday was being mailed from Austin and was headed to Austin. The package, which exploded as it was moving from an elevated conveyor belt to a lower section, was loaded with shrapnel consisting of nails and pieces of metal.
Joining the FBI and ATF are hundreds of law enforcement agents from across the state.

Sunday’s explosion occurred just hours after the FBI increased its reward for information to $100,000. Texas Crime Stoppers is offering an additional $15,000 for the bomber’s arrest and conviction.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced a warning to travelers about the bombings and also enhanced screening procedures for all commercial flights to the United States.

“If you’re in the area, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local law enforcement authorities,” according to the announcement. “If you need more information about how this may affect your particular flight, contact your airline or travel company.”

During remarks from the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the person responsible for the bombings is “very sick” and vowed to “get to the bottom of it.”

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook under fire from politicians over data controversy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic want answers after Facebook’s latest controversy involving the 2016 election.

The growing scrutiny comes after news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, reportedly gained access to information about 50 million Facebook (FB) users.

The data was collected by a professor for academic purposes in accordance with Facebook rules, the company said. But then the information was transferred to third parties, including Cambridge Analytica. The transfer violated Facebook policies.

Facebook on Friday night said it has booted Cambridge Analytica from using its platform.

News of the data transfer sparked renewed questions about whether the social media company does enough to protect its users.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Saturday that her office is opening an investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter Saturday that “Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.”

“It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,” she said. “They say ‘trust us.’

Read More

Unsurprisingly, Putin has won Russia’s presidential election and will serve another 6-year term as president

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a rally to support his bid in the upcoming presidential election at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia March 3, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

  • After a campaign without any serious political challengers to his hegemony, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been re-elected president of Russia for a fourth term.
  • He will serve for at least another 6 years.
  • Behind Putin, a Communist Party challenger took second place, a nationalist took third, and anti-Putin liberal and socialite Ksenia Sobchak took fourth.

MOSCOW (Reuters) – An exit poll showed Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential election held on Sunday with 73.9 percent of the vote.

The voting projection, by pollster VTsIOM, put Communist party challenger Pavel Grudinin in second place with 11.2 percent.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, was on 6.7 pct, and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak had 2.5 percent, the exit poll showed.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk, Andrew Osborn and Katya Golubkova, Writing by Maria Kiselyova, editing by Christian Lowe)


Students protesting gun violence in nationwide school walkout

Students at thousands of schools across the country walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest gun violence. The 17-minute walkout is a tribute to the 17 victims who were fatally shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.

According to the Say #Enough website, which compiles the stories of shooting victims and advocates for change, there will be more than 3,000 walkouts held in communities coast to coast and in Puerto Rico. Students participating in the movement left or were leaving their classes at 10 a.m. in their respective time zone.

Students from schools in Washington D.C. and further afield marched to Capitol Hill, extending their protest, while inside lawmakers grilled officials from the ATF and FBI on how they proposed to tackle safety in schools in the wake of the school massacre. They gathered where just the day before, 7,000 pairs of children’s shoes were placed outside Capitol Hill to represent the children killed by guns since Sandy Hook.

Snapchat’s “Snap Map” feature showed a vast number of walkouts Wednesday, with students snsharing their experiences at gatherings around the country.

In Broward County, Florida, where the Parkland massacre took place, public schools superintendent Robert Runcie said students who walk out of class would not be disciplined for leaving. He said teachers should make this a “teachable moment.”

CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz reports Stoneman Douglas students walked out to the football field. School officials said they want students to exercise their First Amendment rights in a safe environment that’s supervised by adults.

However, some schools across the county, including a group in Pennsylvania, hesitated about participating in Wednesday’s walkout.

Continue Reading

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigns, pleads guilty to theft following affair with security detail

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry agreed to resign on Tuesday as part of a plea deal regarding a felony theft charge, about one month after admitting to an extramarital affair with her bodyguard.

Barry entered her guilty plea on Tuesday and was reportedly sentenced to three years’ probation and a fine. The Tennessee politician had initially planned to stay in office following the revelation that she had an intimate relationship with Sgt. Robert Forrest, but an ethics review and special committee’s probe into misuse of funds led the Democrat to cede her role.

Forrest also pleaded guilty to theft on Tuesday and was sentenced to three years of probation. He must reimburse the city of Nashville $45,000 for the pay he received when he wasn’t acting in his role as a member of Barry’s security detail.
The 54-year-old Democratic mayor has served in her municipal position since 2015, and news of her extramarital relationship comes after Barry lost her 22-year-old son, Max, to a drug overdose last July.

According to the Tennessean, Barry’s affair with Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr. of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department began in 2016 as the 58-year-old officer became a frequent presence in public events and on trips with the mayor.
Forrest also commented on the affair, saying he regrets the dynamic he had with Barry.

“I deeply regret that my professional relationship with Mayor Barry turned into a personal one,” Forrest said in a statement to the Tennessean. “This has caused …..

Continue reading…

Texans deny report that they will not sign players who protest national anthem

The Houston Texans issued a statement on Monday to deny a report that they will not sign players who protest during the national anthem.
Texans public relations staffer Amy Palcic posted a statement on her Twitter account that calls the report “categorically false and without merit.”

Over the weekend, Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon reported that a few agents told him they got the sense the Texans are not interested in free agents who have participated in protests or are likely to do so in the future.

See Tweet

The Texans are owned by Bob McNair, who made highly-publicized controversial comments about players protesting during the anthem.


Who Wants to Publish Omarosa’s White House Tell-All Book?

Publishing industry insiders weigh in on whether there’s a market for such a book.

Omarosa Manigault Newman isn’t shy about expressing her interest in writing a “tell-all” book about her brief tenure in Donald Trump’s White House.
“I’m thinking of writing a tell-all sometime,” Newman told her castmates on an episode of Celebrity Big Brother that aired on Feb. 24. “I have to tell my truth. I’m tired of being muted.”

But, now that she’s off the show and embarking on a media tour that took her to Stephen Colbert’s show on Wednesday night, Newman is being coy about her plans. Prior to a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, her representatives made clear that questions about a book or even about her time in the White House were off limits, even though she made national news last weekend by talking about being “freed off of a plantation.”

Asked again this week whether Newman wants to write a book, her rep did not respond to an email.

Another question is whether any major publishing house would be interested in publishing Newman’s account of her time in the White House.


John Kelly’s comment about God punishing him with chief of staff job aggravated Trump

White House chief of staff John Kelly’s comment that God punished him when he left the Department of Homeland Security for the West Wing aggravated President Trump and was not well received, CBS News’ chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports.

Kelly made the remark, in a joking fashion, Thursday morning at an event marking the 15th anniversary of his old department, DHS.

“I miss every one of you every day,” Kelly said, rolling his eyes as the audience laughed. “Truly, six months, the last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life — being the secretary of homeland security — but I did something wrong, and God punished me, I guess.”

More laughter ensued from the audience.

But the president did not take the joke so well. Mr. Trump, Garrett reports, believes he gave Kelly a lot of power when he arrived, and thinks Kelly should remember and appreciate that — not suggest he was cursed.

Kelly has been in a tough position in recent weeks, managing a White House facing turnover and shifting policy positions from the president. He faced scrutiny for the handling of Rob Porter, the ex-aide who was accused of abusing his ex-wives but operated on an interim security clearance in close proximity to the president for a year.

Kelly now faces other staffing challenges, with the impending departure of Hope Hicks, one of Mr. Trump’s most trusted allies who has served as the White House communications director. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s job is also in jeopardy, Garrett reports. Sources tell Garrett an exit strategy may be in the works.

Meanwhile, the president’s announcement that he will impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Thursday surprised many in the White House. The announcement temporarily halted conversations about gun reforms, which have been a focus in the White House since the Parkland shooting.

Kelly became White House chief of staff last summer, after the departure of Reince Priebus from that post.
CBS News’ Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.


Graham praised by Trump, politicians as ‘America’s pastor’

WASHINGTON – The president gently touched the bare wood of Billy Graham’s casket. The speaker of the House bowed his head. And hundreds of other lawmakers, family and friends stood in a rare salute Wednesday to the man they called, “America’s pastor.”

“He ministered to all walks, from some of the greats whose statues line this hall — Eisenhower, King, Ford, and Reagan — to the everyday citizens lining up today to pay their respects,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, gesturing to Graham’s casket under the eye of the Capitol Rotunda.
President Donald Trump, who met Graham but is closer to his son, Franklin, nonetheless recalled that the elder Graham had long been part of his life. Trump said his father, Fred, “said to me, ‘Come on, son … Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.’ And it was something very special.”

He called Graham “an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace.”
Graham’s influence stretched far beyond the city where he counseled presidents and lawmakers to a global flock over the better part of seven decades. He is known for having met every president, Trump included, and counseled most.

But he learned to be wary of the heat of politics. Close to Richard Nixon, Graham later said the details of the Watergate scandal made him feel used.

But the world of American politics and government embraced Graham on Wednesday, a week after he died at age 99. Those gathered, including Vice President Mike Pence, some members of Trump’s Cabinet and members of the House and Senate, stood around the casket. They were ringed by paintings of the nation’s founders.

“The man we recognize today shared the Gospel with more people, face-to-face, than anyone else in history,” said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As the leaders stood by the casket, Trump reached out to touch it. Ryan, nearby, bowed his head.
Some 30 family members accompanied Graham’s casket to Washington, where he had befriended presidents of both parties. Graham’s son, Franklin, tweeted a photo Wednesday of family members loading the casket onto a jet emblazoned with “Samaritan’s Purse,” the name of a Christian relief charity that he chairs.

Graham is lying in honor before a funeral Friday near his home in North Carolina. The Rotunda entrances were draped with black fabric, and Graham’s casket rested on a black-draped catafalque beneath the soaring ceiling and its painting, the “Apotheosis of Washington.”
Graham felt burned by Nixon for years. Nixon’s White House tapes released in 2002 included Graham’s voice telling the president that Jews “don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.” He apologized.
Nonetheless, he ministered to other presidents until his health began to fail.

Former President Bill Clinton recalled seeing one of Graham’s crusades as a child, a profound experience that became more amazing over his life. Graham counseled him as Arkansas governor, and later as president in the White House itself.
“In that little room, he was the same person I saw when I was 11 on that football field,” Clinton said Tuesday after viewing the casket at Graham’s home.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, visited Graham’s home earlier in the week.
In Washington, Ryan said there had been no doubt that Graham would receive the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda. He told reporters that almost immediately upon hearing of Graham’s death he, Trump, McConnell and Rep. Patrick McHenry, who represents the Graham family’s district, agreed it would happen.

Trump met Graham at the pastor’s 95th birthday party in 2013, but is closer to Franklin Graham Jr.
Graham shares the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda with 11 presidents and other distinguished Americans, starting with Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky in 1852 and, most recently, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in 2012.

Graham is only the fourth private person to lie in honor since 1998. The others are two U.S. Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998 and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.

Follow Kellman at


Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as new leader of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed sweeping change at his swearing in on Friday, seeking to reassure foreign investors and pledging to fight poverty and corruption after Robert Mugabe’s shock resignation.

In his inaugural address, Mnangagwa set out a program of dramatic change that promised a stark reversal of many of Mugabe’s signature policies.

He pledged that his government would compensate white farmers whose land was seized by Mugabe, protect international investments in the country, and re-engage with foreign powers.

Elections scheduled for 2018 would go ahead as planned, he said.

“I humbly appeal to all of us that we let bygones be bygones,” he said at the ceremony in the 60,000-seat national stadium in Harare, which was packed to capacity.

“We must work together — you, me, all of us who make this nation.

“I stand here today, to say that our country is ready for a sturdy re-engagement program with all the nations of the world,” he said.

After reciting the oath of office, the 75-year-old leader was given a ceremonial chain and sash of office flanked by his wife Auxilia, receiving salutes and pledges of allegiance from the country’s military and security chiefs.

Mnangagwa also used his speech to pay tribute to Mugabe, describing him as one of the “founding fathers of our nation”. (AFP)


Trump Becomes First Sitting President To Address Anti-LGBTQ Event

President Donald Trump on Friday became the first sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit, an event sponsored by the Family Research Council, a group known for its anti-LGBTQ views.

The Values Voter Summit started in 2006 as a gathering for people who want “to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government.”

During his remarks at the event in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Trump touted his administrations “religious freedom” guidance, arguing that “no religious group is ever targeted under my administration.” But Trump’s actions in the White House so far contradict that statement.

Since January, Trump’s administration has been fighting for a travel ban that would keep people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

A report released in September showed hate crimes have climbed along with Trump’s rise in prominence. Trump infamously failed to explicitly condemn white supremacists after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to the death of one anti-racist protester and a number of violent clashes. (Trump argued there were “some very fine people on both sides” of that protest.)

But Trump was much quicker to condemn black athletes and their allies who have chosen to kneel when the national anthem plays before games to raise awareness about the oppression of black people in America. He referenced the protests on Friday when he claimed that “we respect our great American flag,” prompting a standing ovation from the Values Voter audience.

Trump also spoke about the Las Vegas shooting, as well as hurricanes that recently hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

The president has been criticized for his response to the devastation in Puerto Rico, much of which has been without power in the weeks since Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the island. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military the First Responders… in P.R. forever!”

He seemed to walk back that comment Friday.

“It’s not even a question of a choice, we don’t even want a choice. We’re going to be there as Americans,” Trump said.

Trump spoke at the summit as a presidential candidate in both 2015 and 2016. Other speakers at this year’s event include Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, who both previously worked as advisers to Trump.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Obama to Make First Campaign Appearance Since Leaving Office

© U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th annual Legisl… Image: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th annual Legislative Conference Phoenix…
Former President Barack Obama will stump in Virginia next week for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, the Northam campaign announced Wednesday.The rally — Obama’s first public campaign event since leaving office — will take place in Richmond on October 19.The event is one of only two public campaign appearances on the books for Obama this year. The former president is also expected to campaign for New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, although a date has not yet been set.

And the announcement comes a day after the Northam camp said that former Vice President Joe Biden will appear at a workforce development roundtable for the Democratic candidate this Saturday.

Virginia’s gubernatorial race, will takes place on November 7, is the marquee general election this year. Polls show Northam will a slight lead over Republican Ed Gillespie.

On the Republican side, former President George W. Bush will headline fundraisers for Gillespie later this month, and Vice President Mike Pence is set to appear at a rally for the GOP candidate this Saturday.


Jemele Hill offers heartfelt thank you to co-host Michael Smith after ESPN suspension

ESPN colleagues rushed to defend Jemele Hill after Donald Trump posted a scathing tweet on Tuesday morning, and now, Hill has voiced her own appreciation.In her first tweet since ESPN announced a two-week suspension for violating the company’s social media guidelines, Hill offered a sincere thanks to co-host Michael Smith.

Smith has co-hosted SportsCenter‘s “SC6” alongside Hill since February in a format that focuses sports and popular culture.Smith did not appear on the evening’s SC6 broadcast following ESPN’s announcement of Hill’s suspension. After the White House called Hill’s September tweets about Trump a “fireable offense,” a ThinkProgress report said that the network tried to replace Hill for a night, but Smith refused to go on. Both co-hosts ended up working that Sept. 13 broadcast, and ESPN denied the report.

On Monday, Matt Berrie filled in for Smith, and he is expected to return for Tuesday’s show.


ESPN suspends anchor for breaking social media rules

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) ESPN anchor Jemele Hill has been suspended by the network for two weeks for making political statements on social media.

Hill, who is African-American, received criticism from the network last month after referring to President Donald Trump as a ”white supremacist.”

Hill targeted Jerry Jones after the Dallas Cowboys owner stated that players who disrespect the flag would not play for his team.

Hill tweeted Sunday that fans who disagree with Jones should target the team’s advertisers and not buy the team’s merchandise. She clarified Monday she was not calling for an NFL boycott.

ESPN said in a statement Monday that Hill and all employees were reminded in the aftermath of the Trump tweet that posts that may reflect negatively on the company would have consequences.


Twitter accuses Michelle Obama of pushing ‘racist’ literature onto children

Former first lady Michelle Obama is facing accusations of pushing “racist” literature onto children by Twitter users after a school librarian rejected a donation of books from first lady Melania Trump and wrote a blog criticizing her literary choices.

Trump got heat Friday after Massachusetts school librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro declined several Dr. Seuss books donated by the first lady, claiming the material was “cliché” and based on “racist propaganda.”

“Open one of his books (‘If I Ran a Zoo’ or ‘And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,’ for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art,” Soeiro wrote in an open letter to Trump, adding that the books were filled with “racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

SEE ALSO: Melania Trump fires back at Mass. librarian who rejected her donated books

Now many online are jumping to Trump’s defense by posting older photos of Michelle Obama reading children excerpts from Dr. Seuss books, arguing that the books weren’t considered “racist” until President Trump was sworn into office.

Dr. Seuss ok when Michelle Obama read it to children but now has racist undertones when our First Lady donates books? Unreal,” one user wrote, while another posted: “Amazing… the same books Michelle Obama read to children, are now racist books because Trump is President.”

Later on Friday, the first lady fired back at the librarian who rejected her donation, with her director of communications calling Soeiro’s response “unfortunate,” according to FOX News.

“She has demonstrated this in both actions and words since her husband took office, and sending books to children across the country is but one example,” Trump’s spokeswoman told the outlet. “To turn the gesture of sending young students some books into something divisive is unfortunate, but the First Lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere.”


‘A Declining World.’ Mormon Leader Reaffirms Religion’s Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage

(SALT LAKE CITY) — A top Mormon leader reaffirmed the religion’s opposition to same-sex marriage on Saturday during a church conference watched by members around the world.

Dallin H. Oaks, a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, urged members to follow church teachings that dictate that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual men and women. He said that’s the ideal home for children to be raised.

Oaks acknowledged that this belief can put Mormons at odds with family and friends and doesn’t match current laws, including the recent legalization of gay marriage in the United States. But he told the nearly 16-million members watching around the world that the religion’s 1995 document detailing the doctrine — “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” — isn’t’ a policy statement that will be changed.

“We have witnessed a rapid and increasing public acceptance of cohabitation without marriage and same-sex marriage. The corresponding media advocacy, education, and even occupational requirements pose difficult challenges for Latter-day Saints,” Oaks said. “We must try to balance the competing demands of following the gospel law in our personal lives and teachings even as we seek to show love for all.”

Read More