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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Sean Spicer Gets A Ride On The Nope Mobile

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Thanks to his reaction after meeting Donald Trump, we now know what the Pope would look like if he arrived late to a movie theater and had to sit in the front row. CBO projects 23 million more uninsured by 2026 under Trumpcare, but let that be President Dwayne Johnson?s problem. And Ben Carson effectively said poor people are poor because they?re terrible thinkers, so don?t be surprised when federal housing programs are gutted and entirely replaced by giveaways of ?Gifted Hands.? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 24th, 2017:

CBO: 23 MILLION MORE UNINSURED BY 2026 – Yeah, but remember what Stalin said about a million deaths. Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young: ?Twenty-three million fewer Americans would have insurance under legislation that House Republicans narrowly passed last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Wednesday. The agency also predicted the deficit would come down by $119 billion over the next decade ? and that premiums for people buying insurance on their own would be relatively lower than those premiums would be if the Affordable Care Act stays in place. But the reasons health insurance would be less expensive for some aren?t much to cheer about, the budget report makes clear. Prices would come down for healthy people because those who are sick or have illness in their medical histories would have less access to coverage ? and the policies available on the market would tend to be a lot less comprehensive.? [HuffPost]

Also this bit, from the CBO report: ?In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services.? [CBO Report] 

PAUL RYAN THRILLED: ?This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit.? 

RNC: FAKE NEWS! ?The CBO has a long track record of being way, way off in its modeling, with predictions often differing drastically from what actually happens.? 

COMEY GOT FAKE NEWS?D, TOO - Please tell us it was a dossier titled, ?Hillary Clinton did what?!?? Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Marrett: ?In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server? Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James B. Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement ? in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence ? set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election. But according to the FBI?s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence ? and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau.? [WaPo]

NEVER MIND ABOUT THOSE FOOD STAMP CUTS – Joseph Erbentraut and Arthur Delaney: ?U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue faced heated questioning Wednesday over President Donald Trump?s new proposal to slash food stamps?.Contrary to the budget, Perdue simply said that SNAP would be fully funded in the next fiscal year and that any changes would be up to Congress. ?The legislative proposal going forward is obviously something you and all of your members in Congress will deal with and have your stamp on that,? Perdue said. He also said he stood by his comment last week that SNAP isn?t broken and doesn?t need fixing. It?s true that presidential budgets are basically just suggestions, and that it will be up to Congress to set spending levels, but it?s hard to reconcile Perdue?s sunny outlook on SNAP with the Trump administration?s push to cut the program by $193 billion over 10 years, or more than 25 percent of the program?s projected cost in that time. One possible explanation for Perdue?s comment Wednesday is that he wants to pretend that Trump?s budget simply does not exist. A USDA spokesperson said the policy changes recommended in the budget would be considered by Congress when it next reauthorizes SNAP next year ? as in, not right now.? [HuffPost]

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MAN?S DEEPEST WISH UNFULFILLED BY DONALD TRUMP – Well, now Sean Spicer knows what it?s like to attend Trump U. Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny: ?At the most highly anticipated meeting on President Donald Trump?s first foreign odyssey, the ever-shifting pecking order of a tumultuous White House was on full display. Not seen was one of Trump?s most visible hands: Sean Spicer, the embattled press secretary and Catholic who was eagerly anticipating the meeting with Pope Francis…Those were the expected faces. But there were others there, too ? less familiar yet nonetheless critical to the West Wing ecosystem. Hope Hicks, Trump?s communications adviser; Keith Schiller, his former bodyguard; and Dan Scavino, his social media master, all stood solemnly as Trump greeted the Pontiff…Asked about Spicer not being included in the group that met the Pope, a source close to the White House said: ?Wow. That?s all he wanted,? adding it should ?very much be seen as a slight.?? [CNN]

ITALIANS HATE DONALD TRUMP - 5/5 bungas for America?s commander-in-chief. S.V. Date: ?As President Donald Trump makes his Italian debut in meetings with Pope Francis and government leaders on Wednesday, many Italians can already express their impression of the new U.S. president with a single word: ?pazzo.? ?People think he?s a little crazy,? said Benedetta Alabardi, a pharmacist whose store sits a few hundred yards from St. Peter?s Square. ?The first impression is that he?s crazy and dangerous,? said Orasti Gionti, a project manager for a telecommunications consulting company, who allowed for the possibility that Trump?s outrageous statements were an act. ?Maybe he?s tricky.? Fruit vendor Chowdhury Rafiquizzaman saw no need for any such qualifier. ?He is crazy,? he said. ?Not only crazy, he is very crazy.?? [HuffPost]

Happy Wednesday. Here?s John Kasich speaking with 2 Chainz.

IJR is having a cutest dogs on the Hill contest and in the name of the fiery and unforgiving God of Content, you should enter it.

BETSY DEVOS CONTINUES TO MAKE AMERICA PROUD – At least she didn?t say that people should discriminate against LGBTQ kids like a business…yet. Jennifer Bendery: ?Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that states should have the flexibility to decide whether schools can discriminate against LGBTQ students ? even if those schools get federal money. During a testy exchange in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told DeVos about Lighthouse Christian Academy, a private school in Indiana that receives state voucher money but denies admission to students from families where there is ?homosexual or bisexual activity? or someone ?practicing alternate gender identity.? Clark asked DeVos, whose budget seeks a $250 million increase for projects that include vouchers for private schools, if she would step in if that Indiana school applied for such federal funding. DeVos replied by saying she supports giving flexibility to states. ?For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that,? she said.? [HuffPost]

BEN CARSON URGES THE POOR TO THINK LESS POOR – Be creative, like the Egyptians, who made lemonade out of lemons and stored grain in their pyramids. Jose A. DelReal: ?In an interview released Wednesday, Housing Secretary Ben Carson said that a ?certain mindset? contributes to people living in poverty, pointing to habits and a ?state of mind? children take from their parents at a young age. ?I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they?ll be right back up there,? he said during an interview on SiriusXM Radio with Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend. ?And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they?ll work their way right back down to the bottom,? he said.? [WaPo]

TED CRUZ CAN?T TAKE A JOKE – Remarkable that a man who takes most of his social cues from Tracy Flick, Ralph Reed and the John Birch Society would be such a pill. Burgess Everett: ?Ted Cruz called Al Franken ?obnoxious and insulting? for devoting an entire chapter to the Texas GOP senator in Franken?s new book titled ?Giant of the Senate.? Franken, who told USA Today that he hates Cruz in an interview promoting the book, has deemed Cruz ?singularly dishonest and smarmy.? Cruz, for his part, said that the Minnesota Democratic senator is just trying to goose his sales with the Cruz-centric chapter called ?Sophistry.? ?Al is trying to sell books and apparently he?s decided that being obnoxious and insulting me is good for causing liberals to buy his books,? Cruz said in an interview. ?I wish him all the best.?? [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU?VE READ THIS FAR - Here?s a dog interrupting a newscast.

FIRST ADVERTISER PULLS ADS FROM ?HANNITY? – This never would?ve happened if Colmes stayed on. Lydia O?Connor: ?Cars.com, the automotive classifieds site, said Wednesday that it?s pulling its advertisements from Sean Hannity?s Fox News show…The move by Cars.com to pull advertising mimics the start of a massive advertiser boycott that plagued Fox News host Bill O?Reilly, who was unceremoniously ousted from the network last month after after allegations of him sexually harassing female colleagues prompted protests and eventually led more than 50 companies to remove advertising from his show. ? [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- The first full-length trailer for the new ?Game of Thrones? season.

- Where Navy ships go to die.

- The heaviest weight on Earth.

TWITTERAMA

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffpost.com)

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The Upsetting Reason Millennial Women Take Less Vacation Than Men

According to a recently released study from the U.S. Travel Association?s ?Project: Time Off,? America saw its biggest uptick in people taking vacation days in the past 15 years. But there?s a discouraging trend in how many vacation days women take.

Despite the fact that more women than men ranked vacation as ?extremely? important to them in the survey, it remains that 48 percent of men used up all of their vacation days in 2016, compared to just 44 percent of women.

Millennial men took off more days than millennial women, which shouldn?t be too shocking, as men of all ages in the survey took more vacation than women of all ages. 

But the disparity between millennial men and millennial women is even greater than the disparity in other age groups. Only 44 percent of millennial women take time off compared to 51 percent of men, with the women citing guilt, fear of looking less committed to their job and work martyr habits as the reason. 

?We need to put to rest the fallacy that ?work ethic? is equivalent to work martyrdom,? Cait Debaun, director of communications for Project: Time Off, said in a press release. ?Not only are employees not getting ahead by sacrificing time off, these habits may also be harming their careers.? 

Senior director of Project: Time Off Katie Denis, who authored the report, told Fortune that this gap might be because millennial men feel more confident and secure in their jobs. She added that millennial women are more likely to hide their needs for a vacation and, when they do take a break, then apologize for time off. 

The health benefits of taking a vacation are innumerable. Time off gives your brain and your body a chance to recover from the stress of everyday life. People who make it a priority to go on trips have a lessoned risk of heart disease, better ability to control their emotions and can even experience happier relationships. When it comes to benefits at work, those who took time off reported being more focused at work when they returned from their trip. 

And while some of the statistics in the survey are bleak, Denis pointed out that the problems are all fixable. 

?The issues facing our workforce around vacation culture, while alarming, also present clear opportunities and solutions. Americans are using more vacation, and the positive change can continue if American workers?particularly senior leaders?prioritize conversation, planning, and modeling of good vacation behavior,? Denis said in a statement. 

The survey was conducted online by GfK between Jan. 26 and Feb. 20. GfK polled 7,331 U.S. workers over the age of 18, all of whom work more than 35 hours a week and receive paid time off from their employer.

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The Best Potato Salad Recipes, In Case You’re Sick Of Your Old One

No backyard barbecue is complete without potato salad ? this classic dish has a permanent place on our summertime menu. When potato salad is made right, it?s something pretty special. Its place alongside grilled chicken or burgers balances out the charred flavors of the grill with potato salad?s creamy attributes.

The only problem with potato salad is that it?s pretty easy to completely screw it up. If you?re a little heavy-handed with the mayonnaise (or for some people, if you use it at all) or if you don?t use the right kind of potatoes, you can end up with a big bowl of something no one wants to eat. Don?t let that happen to you. Stick with the recipes below. They won?t let you down.

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The Grateful Dead’s Wild Shows Were A Lot For Al Franken To Handle

The Grateful Dead?s legacy is rich enough to merit a four-hour documentary that includes an appearance from Al Franken, the former ?Saturday Night Live? performer and current United States senator who didn?t ?get? the druggy cult surrounding the band. HuffPost has an exclusive clip from ?Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead? in which Franken recalls dirty scenes at Grateful Dead shows with all the charm of a primo dad. 

?Long Strange Trip? opens May 26 in New York and Los Angeles, and premieres June 2 on Amazon Prime. 

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Why Being Quiet Is A Sign Of Strength

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When I started out as a reporter, I had to learn to really listen, which didn?t come easily to me. I?m from a family that loves to debate and argue, and I?m naturally opinionated. Early in my career, I found myself frequently interrupting my subjects, but when I played back the tapes of my interviews, I realized that not only were many of my interjections totally unnecessary, but they were also preventing my subjects from revealing information that might have been newsworthy or profound. I gradually learned to just be quiet. What I most want from a conversation with others, whether they share my politics or loathe them, is understanding. It doesn?t mean you hide what you think or refrain from pressing someone who?s being unclear or evasive. But it does mean the purpose of the exchange is to tease out what a person truly believes rather than to win an argument, convert them, or show them up.

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Seth Meyers Trolls Trump Over Middle East Trip Flubs

President Donald Trump has been out of the country for only a few days, but ?Late Night? host Seth Meyers is already feeling the difference.

?It?s like when you were in school and your bully was out with the flu,? Meyers joked before launching into a recap of the president?s stumbles throughout his trip to the Middle East

In addition to ridiculing Trump over the fact that first lady Melania Trump publicly swatted away his hand, Meyers played a clip of the president telling the press that he ?just got back from the Middle East? while sitting next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. 

?No wonder he thought Middle East peace was so easy. He wasn?t accounting for Israel,? Meyers said. ?What does he think the Middle East is?? Meyers then mockingly imitated Trump saying, ?I had a great weekend. We achieved peace between the Saudis and the Arabians.?

Watch the clip in the video above.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, the person sitting next to President Trump was misidentified. It was Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

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