Author Archives: tvman

Mr. Met Loses It, Flips Off Fans After Game

The New York Mets issued an apology on Wednesday after Mr. Met flipped off fans following a 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Twitter user Tony T said he was ?reaching over for a high five? when the iconic mascot responded not with five fingers… but one:   

Mr. Met doesn?t have five fingers. He has four, so technically he cannot flip the middle one. But given the panache with which he delivered the gesture, he was certainly not inviting fans to step right up and greet the Mets. 

The team quickly apologized: 

Mr. Met may have just been expressing some frustration for a team that entered the season with high hopes then dropped to 23-28. The Mets have had to contend with a series of injuries as well as an incident in which star pitcher Matt Harvey was suspended for not showing up for a game earlier in May. (Harvey had been out late the night before and played golf in the morning.)  

The gesture went viral online and landed the mascot on the back page of the New York Daily News:  

The team said the person involved in the incident won?t be appearing as Mr. Met again, The Associated Press reported. On Twitter, fans were largely united behind the mascot: 

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Someone Hung A Black Teddy Bear By A Noose As A ‘Prank’ On A Black Principal

Someone at a Raleigh, North Carolina, high school thought it was a good idea to play a racist ?prank? on the school?s black principal.

On Tuesday morning, Wakefield High School students found a black teddy bear hanging by a noose on the side of the building. A sign reading ?Make Wakefield TRIPP again #smartlunch? was posted next to the bear, referencing the school?s former white principal who was replaced in 2015 and an hour-long lunch break that no longer is in place, students told ABC11.

The sign was quickly removed, but a Snapchat screenshot of the bear and sign was shared more than 5,000 times on Twitter. In a screenshot of a conversation with Twitter user Alexis Isabel, a student notes that the black bear is holding an empty liquor bottle in its hand. 

The principal, Malik Bazzell, said in a letter to the Wakefield High School community that the school?s stadium and baseball field were also vandalized. He said that the school is working with the Wake County Public School System to investigate and they will seek criminal charges.  

?Let me be clear: This was an offensive act that has no place in our school. The imagery is deeply offensive and everyone in our school community should be appalled,? he said.

?This act might have been done as part of an annual tradition of senior pranks,? he continued. ?It is in no way funny. It is not a prank.?

WCPSS sent a tweet in response to the online backlash.  

Students at the school aren?t taking this ?prank? lightly either. The school?s black student union said that this was a flat-out hate crime in a series of tweets. It also noted that vandals graffitied a swastika on school property in 2016. 

The group will hold a meeting on Wednesday for students to openly discuss the issue. Its vice president, India Card, told ABC11 that students shouldn?t have to deal with hate at school.

?We just want to make sure that people of color in Wake County can feel safe and be able to come to school and not have to worry about seeing a noose hanging from the ceiling,? Card said.

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Trump Buys Into Putin Plan To Melt The Arctic

WASHINGTON ?- The genius of Vladimir Putin is that he makes his aims crystal clear, as clear as a block of ice in the Arctic. 

Ice and cold have always defined and limited his vast country. For centuries the chief Russian geopolitical imperative was the search for ?warm-water? ports to its south. 

Now the grand aim is to allow global climate change to melt the Arctic and turn the water at the top of the world into a lucrative oil and gas field, as well as a network of efficient new sea lines Russia will control.

Putin, in essence, is gaining U.S. backing for his vision as his pal, President Donald Trump, signals that America will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on combating climate change.

The Russian leader has made no secret of his plan. In fact, he has proclaimed it from the literal rooftop of the world, most recently at a conference on the future of the Arctic region in March.

 ?Climate change brings in more favorable conditions and improves the economic potential of this region,? Putin said told CNBC while attending the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia. ?Today, Russia?s GDP is the result of the economic activity of this region.?

Russia planted a flag on the floor of the Arctic Sea in 2007 and claimed most of it based on an extensive continental shelf beneath.

Exxon Mobil ? notwithstanding its official support for the Paris accord ? and Russia have extensive plans to drill in the Arctic. But so far even the Trump administration has been unwilling to lift sanctions on those projects imposed after Russia invaded the Ukraine.

But Russia has other places and other partners in the region, and is racing ahead with its drilling plans. And it is probably only a matter of time before Exxon Mobil and its allies get a sanctions rollback. 

The Russian military, meanwhile, is rapidly expanding land and sea forces in the Arctic region in what Putin hopes will be new short-cut routes to Europe.

?We see what the Russians are up to,? a top European diplomat in Washington told HuffPost in an interview, speaking on background to avoid confronting the administration by name. 

?It seems to us that President Trump wants Putin to succeed. Maybe we will get cheaper gasoline, but at what cost to the world??


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‘Game Of Thrones’ Reunion Pics Might Have Spoiled A Shocking Death

Over six seasons, we?ve seen the Stark family separated from one another, and sometimes from their own heads. We?ve seen them endure unspeakable hardships, such as weddings. Now, Entertainment Weekly has reunited the remaining Starks in a photo shoot ? the Final Four, if you will ? so you know a party is coming.

The photos of Sansa (Sophie Turner), Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Arya (Maisie Williams) may reveal another, more subtle reunion going on, too. One tiny detail seems to further support information about the upcoming Season 7 from a rumored leaker:

See anything funny? Can?t quite put your ?little? finger on it?

Look again at Arya.

The young assassin is apparently brandishing a new blade at her hip, and it may be a blade we?ve seen before.

Following the release of the images, Redditors noticed that Arya seems to be carrying Littlefinger?s Valyrian steel dagger. We?re pretty sure it?s the same knife because, as Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) says in the HBO show, there?s only one like it in all the Seven Kingdoms.

As BuzzFeed discovered, you can see better images of the dagger on A listing explains it?s ?officially licensed from HBO?s hit series ?Game of Thrones.??

Bran may recognize the dagger since a character known as the ?catspaw assassin? tried to use it to kill him in Season 1.

(Reunions can be awkward, too.) 

Redditor JustACookiecat recalls the journey of the dagger, saying that the last we know of it, it was in Littlefinger?s possession.

If all of this is true, and Arya does have Littlefinger?s dagger, it seems to support the rumor (based on information from a suspected leaker) that Arya will kill Littlefinger in Season 7, possibly at Sansa?s request.

Considering other, similar suspected plot leaks shared on Reddit forums have since found more supporting evidence, things are not looking good for Littlefinger.

After the Season 6 finale, Gillen told HuffPost his character likes ?heading into periods of uncertainty.?

Unfortunately for him, we?re fairly certain about his fate in Season 7. Deuces, bruh.

?Game of Thrones? Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.


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Donald Trump Reportedly Plans To Withdraw From Paris Climate Deal

President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, multiple outlets reported Wednesday. This would make the United States one of just three countries outside the historic pact to reduce planet-warming emissions.

Trump pledged during his campaign to ?cancel? the deal, but delayed a decision for months amid a split in the administration on the issue. But in recent weeks, the camp opposing the accord apparently convinced the president to abandon it ? despite few political advantages and harsh economic and diplomatic consequences.

Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. cannot officially withdraw until November 2019. But even an announcement that the country is looking to leave the deal shows that the White House has no plans to meet earlier targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

That much was already clear. In March, Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, a sweeping regulation passed by former President Barack Obama to limit emissions from the utility sector, by far the country?s biggest emitter. The policy was already stayed by the Supreme Court in February 2016 as a result of a lawsuit filed by former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is now Trump?s head of the EPA. Without the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. wouldn?t even come close to meeting its goals laid out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Trump vowed to jumpstart the U.S. economy by eliminating environmental regulations he blamed for holding back companies. In particular, he positioned himself as a staunch advocate for fossil fuels, nixing climate change funding from his proposed budget and scrapping rules that discourage pollution and boost renewable energy. But, somewhat ironically, major oil, gas and coal companies ? along with a plethora of other big corporations ? urged Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement.

Environmental groups have little legal recourse given that the Obama administration bypassed the Senate to ratify the deal, arguing it did not constitute a treaty. But the Trump administration is still required to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as a public health threat under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling. How it plans to fulfill that legal responsibility that is unclear.

Quitting the Paris Agreement strikes a major diplomatic blow to the U.S. Only war-torn Syria and Nicaragua, the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, are not included in the accord. Retreating from the agreement, which the U.S. took a lead role in brokering, brands the nation as a ?rogue country? and a ?climate pariah,? diplomats said. Without a seat at the table, the U.S. loses leverage over policy action on global warming, and cedes influence to rival superpower China, which has vowed to support poorer countries? efforts to adapt to climate change.

?Who cares?? Myron Ebell, a top climate change denier who led Trump?s EPA transition team, told HuffPost on Tuesday ahead of the announcement. ?If countries are moving in the wrong direction, I don?t think the leader of that movement has much to look forward to. It seems to me that President Trump has a chance to not only turn the direction of the country around but the direction of the world around. Good luck to China.?

Who cares? … It seems to me that President Trump has a chance to not only turn the direction of the country around but the direction of the world around.
Myron Ebell, a top climate change denier who led Trump?s EPA transition team

Yet few credible, peer-reviewed scientists believe manmade climate change isn?t a major problem, and a growing number of investors are already pouring money into transforming the energy economy.

The economic effects of leaving the Paris Agreement would likely be devastating. The U.S. is poised to lose access to fast-growing clean energy markets as Europe, India and China gain major footholds in an industry estimated to be worth $6 trillion by 2030. Countries that tax emissions could now put a tariff on American-made imports, complicating Trump?s plans to reclaim the U.S. mantle as a top manufacturing hub.

?It?s very clear that the energy economy is heading in a direction that, if you don?t engage with climate change, you?re going to miss out on a large number of jobs that have already emerged,? David Waskow, director of the World Resource Institute?s international climate program, told HuffPost before the announcement. ?Withdrawing and retreating would have very negative implications for the U.S. economically.?

It?s unclear what Trump gains politically from the withdrawal. The deal had overwhelming support. Sixty-one percent of Americans said the country should remain in the deal, while just 17 percent support withdrawing and 21 percent weren?t sure, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted earlier this month. And more than 400 U.S. cities, 37 states, 800 universities and nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies have already set their own clean energy and emissions targets.

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After Denver Post Writer Out Following Racist Tweet, Site’s Former Exec Has Some Words

After a journalist?s racist tweet about the Japanese Indy 500 winner went viral this past weekend, a former colleague took to social media to sound off. 

Gil Asakawa, a former executive producer at The Denver Post?s website, recently responded to his old colleague Terry Frei?s remarks about racer Takuma Sato. Frei had written that he felt ?uncomfortable? the Japanese driver had won the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend. 

Though Frei deleted his tweet and is reportedly ?no longer an employee? at the Denver Post, he still received a great deal of backlash from a variety of social media users including Asakawa.

?I wonder what my former colleague Terry Frei thought about my running the website that featured his sports coverage?? Asakawa asked in his post on Sunday. ?Was he ?very uncomfortable? with me having power over his content??

In his post, Asakawa questioned whether Frei would?ve reacted the same way had a German or Italian driver won the race. And further addressing how Frei tied Memorial Day to his objection to the win, Asakawa also mentioned the service of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history made up of all Japanese-Americans. 

?What was he thinking?? the Japanese-American writer said before calling the tweet a ?disgusting disappointment.? 

For Asakawa, his former colleague?s statements struck a nerve, as his father served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he told 9 News. He explained that his father was both ?all-American and also very Japanese,? however served the United States. He told the outlet that he wonders how Frei would?ve reacted to the Japanese-American veteran. 

Frei has issued a statement in an attempt to apologize, explaining that his actions were linked to a Sunday visit to his father?s grave at the Fort Logan National Cemetery. Frei said his father flew missions over Japanese targets during World War II. But Asakawa, whose dad is buried at the same cemetery, said he doesn?t buy Frei?s excuse. 

?It?s sad to keep that kind of hatred in your soul,? he told 9 News. ?My dad didn?t have any problems with Koreans, even though he fought Koreans.? 

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Alaska’s Erupting Bogoslof Volcano Triggers Highest Aviation Alert

Authorities issued the highest danger alert for aircraft after the Bogoslof Island volcano erupted in Alaska.

The eruption of the state?s most active volcano lasted for 55 minutes Sunday and sent a massive plume of ash up to 45,000 feet into the atmosphere. 

Planes flying between North America and Asia use the route above the volcano that?s in the Aleutian Islands chain as a key flight path, though there were no reports of problems with aircraft following this eruption.

Seismic activity on the island has been low since Sunday, but another eruption could occur at any time without warning, noted monitors at the Alaska Volcano Observatory

?Bogoslof Volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition,? said a statement from the observatory. ?Activity may ramp back up with additional explosions producing high-altitude volcanic clouds with little precursory activity.?

Monitors were tracking a cloud of white-gray ash from Sunday?s eruption that was drifting north. Authorities lowered the alert level later that day from red to orange.

Aircraft engines can suck in volcanic ash, which can melt and coat the mechanisms, ultimately leading to engine failure. A major eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland in April 2010 caused Europe?s largest air-traffic shutdown since World War II.

This current sequence of seismic activity of frequent eruptions and volcanic lightning started on Bogoslof in December 2016. There were 36 eruptions from January to March on the island, which is less than a half mile wide.

Bogoslof is in such a state of upheaval that scientists can?t place sensitive monitoring equipment on the island, which is home to bird species and sea lions.

Researchers have to rely on satellite images, flyovers and instruments on nearby volcanoes to monitor Bogoslof.

The volcano has been sporadically active for decades. The material it?s spewed out has tripled the size of the island since 2015.

Volcanic eruptions have in recent months significantly changed the coastline and appear to have split the island into segments.

There were some reports of a light ash dusting of Alaska?s Unalaska Island and the community of Dutch Harbor, some 63 miles southeast of the volcano, during an eruption in February.

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Kentucky Newspaper’s Windows Shattered Amid Rising Anti-Press Climate

The Lexington Herald-Leader is staying ?vigilant? after several of its windows were shattered Sunday morning, Editor Peter Baniak said Monday.

Police believe the damage is consistent with small-caliber bullet fire. No one was hurt in the incident, and authorities are investigating it as criminal mischief, the Herald-Leader reported.

?We need to keep doing what we do because it?s that important,? Baniak told HuffPost, adding that the paper?s staff ?can?t be deterred from doing the work that we do because of an act of vandalism.?

The motive of the perpetrator, or perpetrators, is still unknown. But Sunday?s crime occurred amid increasing anti-press rhetoric and even some violence against members of the media.

Montana Republican Greg Gianforte attacked journalist Ben Jacobs Wednesday before going on to win a Congressional election Thursday. Jacobs was the fourth reporter to either be manhandled or arrested in May for questioning candidates and public officials.

Baniak urged caution Monday against assuming the motive for Sunday?s crime. ?We at the Herald-Leader want to be cautious about speculating and we don?t want to connect the dots until there are dots to be connected,? he said. 

Still, Baniak told HuffPost that ?it is difficult not to be concerned given some of the rhetoric, both nationally and here in Kentucky.?

President Donald Trump, who ran the most anti-press presidential campaign in recent memory, has continued trying to delegitimize the press while in office. On Sunday he again took a page from Stalin in labeling the ?fake news? media as the ?enemy.?

In Kentucky, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin last week called journalists ?cicadas? as part of his ongoing feud with the press. 

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This Is What Heat Stroke Does To Your Body

Temperatures were in the 100s when Vanessa Dunn, a 29-year-old Los Angeles-based makeup artist, was driving back home to California from Virginia last summer. After hours on the road and drinking limited water, she was struck by a severe case of dehydration and heat stroke.

?I wasn?t drinking enough water because I didn?t want to stop to pee,? she says. When she finally pulled over for the night she felt light-headed, and she couldn?t keep food down when she tried to eat. She even threw up blood.

?I was in incredible pain, and dizzy,? she says. ?[I went] to the ER, turned out there was blood because my throat was so dry.?

Her story is not unusual. In 2014, more than 13,000 people visited the emergency room because of a heat-related illness such as heat stroke, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. And on average, about 675 people die in the U.S. every year from heat-related illnesses.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness. It?s less common than other issues such as heat exhaustion (characterized by heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale or clammy skin, fainting, a fast or weak pulse, and nausea or vomiting) or heat syncope (fainting). But heat stroke can happen quickly, to anyone, and can result in irreversible damage or death.

Heat stroke is an extreme elevation of your body temperature that occurs when your body stops being able to regulate itself, according to Dr. James Wantuck, chief medical officer at PlushCare, an online urgent care provider. ?If a fever is like an infection turning up your body?s thermostat, heat stroke is like a broken air conditioner,? he says.

Your body does an expert job of keeping its temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit under normal circumstances. When you?re in a hot environment, your body will regulate its temperature by ?radiating heat into the air, driving your brain to find a cooler environment, and sweating to cause evaporation and cooling,? Wantuck says.

But, he adds, ?radiating heat and finding cooler air don?t work when the temperature is higher than your body temperature, and sweating doesn?t work when the humidity is higher than about 75 percent ? conditions that happen frequently in the summertime.?

That inability to cool down can cause a host of physiological events to occur. They include a raised heart rate, as the heart beats faster to eliminate heat in the body more quickly; inflammation resulting from heat-related cell damage; and the production of ?heat-shock? proteins, which try to protect your cells from heat damage.

If cell damage does occur, it can affect enzyme function.

?Without normal enzyme function, your body?s ability to make energy becomes broken, leading to effects similar to cyanide poisoning [such as] multi-organ failure,? Wantuck says. ?Your nervous system is the most sensitive to high heat, which is why confusion, incoordination and loss of consciousness are common symptoms of heat stroke.?

For anyone who you are worried may have heat stroke, getting them cooled and to an emergency room are the first priorities.
Dr. James Wantuck, chief medical officer at PlushCare

If you?re out in the sun or exercising on a hot day, look out for signs of heat stroke. They include: sweating profusely; feeling weak, lightheaded or confused; a rapid and strong pulse; headache; muscle and stomach cramps; flushed, pale, dry or clammy skin; or body temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a friend, move to a cooler location immediately, remove excess clothing and try to cool down with cold cloths or even a cold bath.

?We recommend calling 911, and if they are young, placing the person into a water bath with ice,? Wantuck says. ?If they are older, [use] ice packs and [pour] cold water on them. [Keep cooling them] until the person starts shivering, or about 15-20 minutes, and their symptoms have gone away.?

?For anyone who you are worried may have heat stroke, getting them cooled and to an emergency room are the first priorities,? he says.

To prevent heat stroke, Wantuck recommends seeking air conditioning on hot days ? especially for older adults and those with medical conditions or taking medications that can disrupt that body?s ability to regulate its temperature. You should also stay hydrated, and avoid enclosed environments and layers of clothing.

For athletes of any stripe, Wantuck says to remove excess equipment (where possible), take frequent breaks and gradually build up a tolerance to heat.

For Dunn, having heat stroke was an eye-opener. ?It was a really scary experience,? she says. She urges everyone she knows to stay hydrated on hot days. ?I hope no one goes through [heat stroke].?

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Texas Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill May Force A Special Session

AUSTIN, Texas ? A potential compromise to avoid a full-blown set of bathroom restrictions keeping trans Texans from using the facilities that most closely match their gender fell apart Friday night, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) once again implied that he?d force legislators to return for a special session if the measure doesn?t pass.  

Patrick has made the issue a priority since the beginning of the regular session, which started in January. But the bill he backed in the state Senate, which would have required trans Texans to use public bathrooms of the sex listed on their birth certificates, failed to gain traction in the state House of Representatives.  

Instead, House Speaker Joe Straus blocked the measure and threw his support behind an amendment to a separate bill last week as his watered-down alternative. The amendment would have required public and charter K-12 schools ? but not government buildings ? to provide single-use bathrooms to those uncomfortable using facilities of their ?biological sex.? The amendment wouldn?t have overturned more inclusive local policies, which Patrick wanted.  

Friday night, both Straus and Patrick called press conferences to tell reporters neither one intended to budge. Patrick once again threatened to push legislators into a special session over the issue.

?They?re definitely playing a game of chicken,? Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University in Houston, told HuffPost. ?Straus has effectively told Patrick, take it or leave it.?

Straus is an establishment Republican who opposes the bill and fears it will drag the state through the same negative publicity and boycotts that North Carolina faced last year when it restricted bathroom use for trans people. He?d spoken publicly against the idea, but backed the amendment last week after Patrick threatened to hold up must-pass legislation if the House didn?t approve some version of the bathroom restrictions.

?He said he has compromised enough, but in fact, he has not compromised at all,? Patrick said, according to the Texas Tribune.

It communicates to transgender people that they don?t belong. Quite literally, this bill is killing my patients.
Colt Keo-Meier, a clinical psychologist

The state legislature meets once every two years for five months. But Patrick, a staunch conservative who presides over the Texas Senate, once again raised the possibility of pulling lawmakers back to Austin for the express purpose of considering the bathroom bill.

?We are representing the people of Texas,? Patrick said, according to the Texas Observer. ?Women want to be protected in bathrooms, government bathrooms, across this state? Every poll clearly says that.?

During debates at the legislature, supporters of the Republican-backed bill did little to show that the state faces a public safety problem if people use public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identification. Assaulting women or men in a public bathroom or anywhere else is already illegal. Trans bathroom use is not associated with crime. 

Hundreds of people, however, told legislators at a committee hearing in March that the bill would needlessly stigmatize and harm trans Texans. Only 9 percent of trans Americans have successfully altered the markers on their birth certificates, according to a 2015 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality. The study cited bureaucratic hurdles and associated costs as obstacles.

Colt Keo-Meier, a clinical psychologist who specializes in serving transgender clients and has transitioned himself, told Senators in March that his clients routinely suffer from suicidal thoughts and other mental health problems provoked by the harsh way they are treated.

?It communicates to transgender people that they don?t belong,? Keo-Meier said of the measures Patrick supports. ?Quite literally, this bill is killing my patients.?

The compromise amendment backed by Straus didn?t satisfy LGBTQ advocates, who likened it to segregation. But in a legislative session dominated by hardline conservatives, Straus hoped it would at least limit the bad press and economic consequences that the original bill threatened to unleash.

?For many of us ? and especially for me ? this was a compromise,? Straus told reporters Friday, according to the Texas Tribune. ?As far as I?m concerned, it was enough. We will go no further. This is the right thing to do in order to protect our economy from billions of dollars in losses and more importantly to protect the safety of some very vulnerable young Texans.? 

If Patrick refuses to back down, the pressure to raise the bill will fall on Gov. Greg Abbott. He alone has the authority to call a special legislative session, and he picks which bills state lawmakers may consider when taking that measure. Abbott has said he supports some measure restricting bathroom use.

But forcing a special session over the issue would put an even greater spotlight on the controversial bill, which worries some business-minded Republicans. Two studies showed the state would lose billions of dollars due to boycotts and lost tourism if the measure passes.

?If it passes during the regular session, it appears like a priority,? said Jones, the political scientist from Rice University. ?But if you call a special session to pass the bathroom legislation, you?re essentially saying this is such a priority we?re willing to pay approximately $1 million to hold a special session and make 181 legislators return to Austin to debate it and pass it.?

If Abbott were to call a special session and place bathroom restrictions on the agenda, they?d have a higher likelihood of passing because Straus would have less room to use procedural tools to block the measure.

?The Texas economy is sliding backwards. Healthcare for millions of Texans could be ripped away. Our students pay the price for a broken school finance system. Higher education is out of reach for working families. And Texas workers still need a damn raise,? Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement in response to the controversy.

?We are facing a Texas with less opportunity, and Republicans have been debating bathrooms for months,? he added. ?Texas Republicans have failed us all.?

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Contra Mick Mulvaney, People Know Disability Is Part Of Social Security

WASHINGTON ? President Donald Trump?s budget chief said repeatedly this week that when people think of Social Security, retirement insurance is the only thing that comes to mind ? not disability insurance.

A ?welfare program for the long-term disabled,? Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Tuesday, ?is not what most people would consider to be Social Security.?

Social Security is best known as retirement insurance, but plenty of people are aware that it?s also disability insurance. Forty-three percent of survey respondents said they knew someone who received disability or survivors? benefits from Social Security, according to a 2010 poll by AARP. (Asked if they knew someone simply ?on Social Security,? more than two-thirds said they did.)

Mulvaney insisted disability insurance shouldn?t count as Social Security because President Donald Trump promised during the campaign that he would never support cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Trump?s budget, which Mulvaney unveiled this week, breaks that promise by proposing cuts to both Medicaid and Social Security. Because it doesn?t target Social Security?s retirement insurance component, Mulvaney dubiously claims the proposal doesn?t break Trump?s promise.

?If you ask 999 people out of 1,000, [they] would tell you that Social Security disability is not part of Social Security,? Mulvaney said on Monday. ?It?s old-age retirement that they think of when they think of Social Security.?

If 43 percent of Americans have heard of Social Security Disability Insurance, per the AARP poll, then that means Mulvaney?s assertion is not correct.

And, as the progressive think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, even Republicans amenable to cutting Social Security Disability Insurance have talked about the program as a basic part of Social Security.

?Social Security provides vital financial support for more than 57 million beneficiaries,? House Speaker Paul Ryan?s (R-Wis.) congressional website says. ?Social Security also provides critical benefits to widows and those with disabilities.?

As a teenager, Ryan and his mother received Social Security survivors? benefits after his father?s death, another element of the program that Mulvaney?s narrower definition of Social Security excludes.

Getting the benefits ?helped me pay for college, it helped her go back to college in her 50s where she started a small business because of the new skills she got,? Ryan recalled during the 2012 vice presidential debate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has also discussed the importance of Social Security survivors? benefits for his younger sister, when both their parents died in a short span of time.

And Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), chairman of the Social Security subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee, has spoken about the program as a crucial source of insurance in the event of a severe disability.

?For years I?ve talked about the need to fix Social Security so that our children and grandchildren can count on it to be there for them, just like it?s there for today?s seniors and individuals with disabilities,? Johnson said in December.

In fact, it was a Republican who first created the Social Security Disability Insurance program. President Dwight D. Eisenhower expanded Social Security to cover workers with disabilities and their dependents in 1956. From that point on, Social Security became known as the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program.

The disability benefits part of Social Security was a natural extension of the program?s mission to enable workers to contribute toward a fund that would provide them income for times when they are no longer capable of working. Disability benefits, like Social Security retirement benefits, are based on a certain percentage of a worker?s previous earnings, rather than need, like some means-tested welfare programs.

Some policy experts who helped conceive of Social Security in the 1930s favored making disability benefits part of the original program, according to a history on the Social Security Administration website. They were overruled by colleagues concerned about the cost of adding those benefits, and critics in the private disability insurance industry, delaying its passage for an additional two decades.

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Grown Men Upset By Movie Theater Offering Women-Only Screening Of ‘Wonder Woman’

An Austin-based movie theater has angered men for offering a women-only screening of the upcoming ?Wonder Woman? film. 

In a Facebook post Wednesday, the movie theater announced the special screening, with a link back to an innocent and enthusiastic post about the event on its website.

?The most iconic superheroine in comic book history finally has her own movie, and what better way to celebrate than with an all-female screening?? the announcement reads. ?Apologies, gentlemen, but we?re embracing our girl power and saying ?No Guys Allowed? for one special night at the Alamo Ritz.?

Like clockwork, angry men of the internet responded by calling the theater sexist for hosting a women-only screening of a movie that?s empowering for women.

One man commented, ?Apparently ?equality? is only selective nowadays … How about a ?men?s only? showing of a movie or is that not how equality works?? Another offended gentleman said that it was ?wrong,? and that he will ?never set foot in [the] theater again.?  

Check out some of the comments below.

And regardless of the fact that the theater is hosting dozens of other screenings for the film, some men on Twitter were also quick to take offense. 

Alamo responded to many of the commenters, even the angry ones, encouraging them to think twice about why this might be an exciting event for many women:

We hate to lose your business, and it?s certainly your right to campaign against us. Humor us ? give it a day or so and consider this notion (it?s true, we promise): that the event is really just supposed to be a fun way for female fans of a comic book character that?s important to them symbolically to see a movie they?re excited about. There?s no political agenda intended, honest.

Another Twitter user pointed out that the men?s complaints were futile ? the original women-only screening has apparently already sold out, prompting the theater to add more shows.

In a statement to HuffPost, Alamo representatives were enthusiastic about the screening and inspired by the ?wrath of trolls? to continue providing an exciting experience for women ? and Alamo now plans on expanding the women-only screening options in its theaters nationwide. 

?We are very excited to present select, women-only Wonder Woman screenings at Alamo Drafthouse,? said Morgan Hendrix, Alamo Drafthouse creative manager, in the statement. ?That providing an experience where women truly reign supreme has incurred the wrath of trolls only serves to deepen our belief that we?re doing something right. As a result, we will be expanding this program across the country and inviting women everywhere to join us as we celebrate this iconic superheroine in our theaters.?

Representatives for Alamo also told HuffPost that proceeds from the ticket sales for their D.C., Austin and Dallas screenings will be donated to local women?s charities. 

H/T Flavorwire

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Psychedelic Mushrooms And LSD Are Among The Safest Recreational Drugs, Survey Finds

Governments around the world consider mushrooms and LSD to be among the most dangerous illicit substances, but a new survey of drug users suggests that these psychedelics are actually some of the safest.

Around 20,000 people reported having used either mushrooms, which contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin, or LSD in the past year, according to the 2017 Global Drug Survey. Of those, just over 100 people reported seeking emergency medical treatment related to those drugs. Most of these cases were linked to LSD ? a total of 1 percent of recent LSD users and just 0.2 percent of recent mushroom users sought treatment.

By that metric, the survey concludes that mushrooms are the safest recreational drug. LSD ranked a close third behind marijuana, as 0.6 percent of people who?d used cannabis over the past year reported receiving emergency medical care.

All three drugs were less dangerous than alcohol, which was by far the most widely used intoxicant in the survey and led to 1.3 percent of all recent users seeking emergency treatment. For methamphetamine, the most harmful substance included on the survey, 4.8 percent of people who?d used in the last year ended up rushing to see a medical professional.

The Global Drug Survey, an independent research company that, since 2014, has partnered with medical experts and media groups to conduct its annual survey, compiled responses from more than 115,000 people in over 50 countries for its 2017 edition. More than 10,000 people from the U.S. responded.

Although drug concerns in the U.S. have centered around heroin and opioids in recent years, the survey suggests these substances are less of a problem elsewhere in the world. Just 2.4 percent of all respondents worldwide reported having used heroin in their lifetime, while 16 percent reported having used prescription painkillers. In the U.S., however, nearly 3 percent of respondents said they used heroin in the past year alone, while 21.2 percent said they used prescription opioids.

The survey underscores key differences between substances. For one, these drugs vary greatly in toxicity. Alcohol, cocaine and synthetic cannabinoids (sometimes called spice or K2) can cause acute harm at relatively low doses, which may lead users to seek treatment to prevent lasting health effects or even death. They are also linked to a number of common secondary health consequences, including injuries from accidents, self-harm or fights.

The typical harm profile of psilocybin and LSD looks a bit different. It?s almost impossible to overdose on these drugs alone, though using them with other substances can create more severe interactions. Even on their own, these psychedelics can cause intense episodes of fear, anxiety or disorientation, which may lead users to harm themselves, or to simply decide that they need to seek medical help. Those issues can be compounded among people who have pre-existing mental health conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

The survey?s findings could say a lot about psychedelics and the way people use them. There?s little evidence of dependence or addiction related to mushrooms or LSD, said Adam Winstock, an addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, in an interview with HuffPost. Furthermore, people aren?t using them just because they think it?s fun to shroom or dose.

In fact, the survey showed that just 67.5 percent of lifetime users of psychedelics listed ?recreation or fun? as a motivation for tripping. Gaining a deeper understanding of the world, learning more about yourself, mind expansion and curiosity all ranked higher. Another 35.9 percent wanted to ?deal with emotional issues? and slightly more than one-quarter wanted to ?deal with stress.?

Although the survey demonstrates that people use psychedelics for a variety of reasons, the relatively lower rate of purely social or recreational use means they have less overall to exposure to psychedelics than they do to other drugs, said Winstock.

He also pointed to a 2014 survey of psychedelics users in which respondents reported that they take a number of precautions before tripping.

?The second-most important strategy that psychedelic users said they adopted is they don?t drive and cycle when they?re on psychedelics, because that would be really dumb,? Winstock said. ?People are more reckless with other drugs, perhaps because they feel more confident about their ability to control their actions and not be so distorted in the way they see the world, but they know that if they?re going to take a trip, they have to have their shit together.?

The emergency treatment rate for LSD was a full five times higher than it was for mushrooms, which Winstock said could be because LSD is far more potent and tends to be less predictable. Mushrooms come in a relatively standard dose worldwide ? a few pieces of fungi. It?s not possible to eyeball exactly how much LSD is on a tab or blotter, nor can you tell if it?s been adulterated with a novel psychedelic substance that could increase the risk of potentially negative or harmful interactions.

In general, however, Winstock suggested that drug users appear to exercise more common sense around psychedelics than they do with other substances.

?If people paid as much respect for the planning that they put in place when they take psychedelics, there?d probably be a lot less problems with drugs,? he said.

This isn?t to say that psychedelic trips always go as planned. Just over 5 percent of people who?d used mushrooms in their lifetime and 7.6 percent of those who?d used LSD said they?d had a difficult or negative experience involving the drug, according to the survey.

But not all ?bad trips? are equal. Although clinical studies of psilocybin use have shown that, in rare cases, these episodes can have troubling long-term effects, users more frequently appear to find them ?meaningful? or ?worthwhile.?

This only stresses the importance of proper education and preparation, said Winstock.

The 2017 Global Drug Survey adds to a growing body of research that appears to challenge the grounds for the strict, nearly global prohibition on psychedelics. Both U.S. law and United Nations drug treaties hold that mushrooms and LSD have no medical value and a high potential for abuse and harm. But the data largely hasn?t supported that position, and emerging science has suggested that the drugs could be used to treat complex psychological conditions, including end-of-life anxiety and addiction.

In recent U.S. studies on people suffering from cancer-related anxiety and depression, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy led to clinically significant reductions in symptoms for between 60 and 80 percent of subjects. Some patients reported that the benefits of a single dose of psilocybin, along with therapy, lasted up to seven months, with minimal side effects. Similar studies using LSD are also underway, though not in the U.S.

Initial studies have also shown that psilocybin may hold promise in treating alcoholism, building on a rich history of anecdotal evidence that psychedelic drugs, including LSD, could help people battle addiction. The Beckley Foundation, a leading advocate for psychedelic science, is also in the beginning stages of research into the effects of LSD microdosing on mood, cognition, productivity and creativity.

Supporters of psychedelics point out that this form of therapy is both controversial and potentially revolutionary because it doesn?t focus on treating symptoms. Rather, it holds that some mental illnesses can be addressed by essentially disrupting the default mode network, or ego, of a person?s brain, thereby targeting the root cause of the symptoms. In other words, it?s designed to eliminate the need for treatment, not offer an ongoing one.

Winstock says efforts like the Global Drug Survey prove it?s time to begin rethinking our approach to psychedelic substances. But he admits there are powerful interests standing in the way of progress, and not all of them are anti-drug government officials.

?The reason it?s taken so long is Big Pharma must be terrified,? said Winstock. ?I?ve got patients that have been on antidepressants for years. [There?s a] possibility that you might be able to give someone six sessions of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and treat their depression so you don?t have to be on Prozac for five years, all with a drug [like psilocybin or LSD] that doesn?t have a patent.?

?That?s a huge threat to the industry,? he added, ?but it makes sense to me.?

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Reporter Says Montana GOP Candidate ‘Body Slammed’ Him

On the eve of Montana?s special election, a reporter for The Guardian on Wednesday accused Greg Gianforte, the millionaire Republican running for the state?s open congressional seat, of assaulting him. 

Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs said Gianforte ?body slammed me and broke my glasses? after he asked a question about the Republican health care legislation.

In an audio recording posted by The Guardian, Jacobs can be heard asking Gianforte about the recently released Congressional Budget Office report on the Republican health care replacement bill. Then there?s a loud crash. 

?I?m sick and tired of you guys,? Gianforte says. ?The last time you came here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!? 

?Jesus Christ,? Jacobs said. ?You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.? 

?Get the hell out of here,? Gianforte says again.

?If you?d like me to get the hell out of here, I?d also like to call the police,? Jacobs says. 

A Fox News crew was in the room at Gianforte?s campaign headquarters in Bozeman when Jacobs walked in.

?Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,? reporter Alicia Acuna wrote on the Fox News website. She said the three-member team ?watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ?I?m sick and tired of this!? 

Acuna added: ?To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.? She said the Fox crew had given statements to investigators.

Alexis Levinson, a BuzzFeed reporter, saw part of the clash.

?This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn?t see it all, but here?s what it looked like from the outside,? Levinson wrote on Twitter. ?Ben walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte … All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben?s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor.?

Jacobs reported the attack to local police. The Gallatin County Sheriffs Office confirmed in a statement late Wednesday that it is investigating an alleged assault involving Gianforte. It said the investigation is ?ongoing? and it would provide additional details ?when appropriate.? 

Gianforte?s office blamed ?liberal journalist? Jacobs for the confrontation. Spokesman Shane Scanlon said in a statement that Jacobs barged into an interview in a private office and ?aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg?s face and began asking badgering questions.?

After Jacobs refused to leave, Scanlon said, Gianforte ?attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg?s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It?s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene.? 

In an interview with MSNBC from the hospital, Jacobs called it ?the strangest moment? of his reporting career. 

?I don?t mind being blown off by politicians and I also am always terribly uncomfortable being part of a story,? he told host Chris Hayes. ?And now it seems like I became the story.? 

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin, speaking to reporters at a press conference later on Wednesday night, pleaded with the community to stop calling his office?s dispatch center, and said he wouldn?t provide much information until the investigation is finished. Asked why charges were not filed at the scene, Gootkin said: ?Because we did not have all the information at that time.?

The high-profile incident on the eve of Election Day throws a contentious race into turmoil. Gianforte is locked in a tight race with Rob Quist, a banjo-playing folk musician who has never sought public office before.

Quist, asked to comment outside a campaign event, told reporters, ?I think that?s more a matter for law enforcement.? He brushed aside further questions. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called on Gianforte to drop out of the race. The GOP ?should not waste another minute before publicly denouncing their candidate and apologizing for the millions of dollars they spent on his behalf,? DCCC spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement.

Although Gianforte has led Quist in public polling, his lead has shrunk in recent weeks as Quist has tied him to the unpopular Republican health care bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month. Even as Gianforte reserved judgment on the bill in public, The New York Times obtained a recording of a call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in which Gianforte said he was ?thankful for? the bill?s passage. He later tried to walk back the comments, but Quist pilloried him for it in advertisements and on the campaign trail.

News of Wednesday?s violence could be a blow that dooms Gianforte?s campaign, ensuring a Quist victory and a major win for Democrats nationally.

Progressive activists across the country have poured money into Quist?s race, seeing it as an opportunity to signal dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump in a state he won by 20 percentage points.

In the moments before the confrontation between Jacobs and Gianforte turned violent, the reporter can be heard asking the candidate to clarify his views on the GOP health care bill. A new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the legislation came out earlier in the day, presumably giving Gianforte information he needed to decide whether he supports it.

?You were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came out,? Jacobs began.

?We?ll talk to you about that later,? Gianforte replied.

?Yeah but there?s not gonna be time,? Jacobs shot back. ?I?m just curious about it right now.?

?Speak with Shane please,? Gianforte said, referring to his spokesman.

Then the recording cuts to the sound of scuffling.

Listen to The Guardian?s recording of the clash below:

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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