Samantha Bee Reveals The ‘Real’ Reason Why Donald Trump Tweeted ‘Covfefe’

Samantha Bee can settle the whole ?covfefe? debate, once and for all.

After President Donald Trump tweeted the mysterious but clearly nonsensical word yesterday, multiple theories abounded as to what it actually meant. On Wednesday, the ?Full Frontal? host claimed to know the real reason behind the tweet ? and it was apparently related to Trump?s first big trip abroad as president. 

Bee also praised POTUS for the tweet because ?for five blessed hours, Donald J. Trump made America truly great.?

?For that glorious interlude between midnight and 5 a.m., we were like passengers on the Titanic who decided to say ?fuck it,? and rock out to the band,? she added.

Check out the full segment above.

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Former NAACP President Ben Jealous Announces Run For Maryland Governor

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland, the civil rights leader announced in Baltimore on Wednesday.

Jealous, 44, is the second Democrat to jump into the race against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, a relative moderate up for re-election in November 2018. Alec Ross, a 45-year-old technology entrepreneur and former adviser in the Barack Obama administration, announced his candidacy in April.

Hogan boasts a high approval rating in the state, but a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll from March showed him leading a hypothetical Democratic challenger by just 4 percentage points among registered voters.

Jealous? candidacy is liable to nationalize the primary, turning it into yet another proxy war between the party?s progressive and establishment wings. Jealous endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 presidential election and now sits on the board of the campaign legacy organization Our Revolution. 

But during his campaign announcement outside Baltimore Blossom Studio, a floral shop his cousin opened after civil unrest in the city in 2015, he trained his fire on Republicans, claiming Hogan has failed to stand up to President Donald Trump.

?Every week our governor becomes a little more like the lion in ?The Wizard of Oz?: all strength and no political courage,? Jealous said. 

?We have for 50 years, as progressives as civil rights activists, bemoaned the transfer of power from the federal government to our states,? he added later. ?But in this moment, when extremists are running our federal government, let?s just celebrate what is, make full use of the power we have and move our families forward together no matter what they do in Washington.?

 

Every week our governor becomes a little more like the lion in ?The Wizard of Oz?: all strength and no political courage.
Ben Jealous

Hogan said ahead of the election that he wouldn?t vote for Trump, claiming he was ?not pleased with the candidates in either party.?

Since the inauguration, however, Hogan hasn?t been as antagonistic toward the administration as his Democratic peers in other states. He appeared alongside Education Secretary Besty DeVos at a school in Bethesda in March, and ignored a request by the state?s Democratic attorney general to challenge Trump?s travel ban. Maryland?s Democratic legislature subsequently empowered the attorney general to pursue lawsuits without the governor?s approval.

Hogan also announced last week that he plans to veto paid sick leave legislation, a move that rankles liberal activists in the state.

Jealous is running on a firmly progressive platform of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensuring quality teachers in every classroom, reducing student debt, protecting the Chesapeake Bay, investing in clean energy, ensuring affordable health care and upgrading public transportation.

He said he plans to pay for new investments with such tactics as closing corporate tax loopholes and reducing the state?s incarceration levels.

Jealous addressed both police brutality and rising levels of violent crime, two issues that have scarred the city. 

?We will cut the murder rate,? he said. ?We will lock up the shooters.?

?And we will restore trust by both better training officers, but also, yes, by also holding officers who kill unarmed civilians fully accountable,? he added, eliciting loud applause from those assembled to support him.

Jealous is a partner at Kapor Capital, a venture capital firm in Oakland, California, that focuses on socially progressive investments. In his remarks on Wednesday, Jealous suggested his experience there equipped him to attract investments from tech companies that might want to diversify their workforces, because Maryland boasts a high rate of black scientists and engineers.

In 2008, 35-year-old Jealous became the youngest person to ever lead the NAACP. Over the course of his five-year tenure at the organization, Jealous presided over significant membership and revenue growth, registered hundreds of thousands of voters, and participated in successful fights to ban the death penalty in Connecticut and Maryland.

Jealous was born and raised in California, but his mother hails from Baltimore and he frequently visited his grandparents there. His parents met in the city, but they couldn?t get married there because his father is white and Maryland prohibited interracial marriage until 1967.

Jealous is likely to become the progressive favorite in the race, thanks in no small part to his work on behalf of the Sanders campaign and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison?s bid for chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

The national office of Our Revolution, which live-tweeted Jealous? announcement, has said it will base its endorsement in the race on who its Maryland chapter supports. 

?I am glad to see a life-time organizer with a track record of advancing civil rights and equality for the people who need it most in this country pose a REAL challenge to the status quo,? Winnie Wong, co-founder of the People for Bernie, said in an email. Wong is also a chief organizer of the People?s Summit, a national gathering of progressive activists in Chicago later this month at which Jealous is scheduled to speak. 

Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), former Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Prince George?s County Executive Rushern Baker, Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore attorney James Shea and state Sen. Richard Madaleno are all reportedly considering running for Maryland?s Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

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Sean Hannity Just Can’t Stop Himself From Talking About Seth Rich

Days after host Sean Hannity pledged to stop discussing the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, the Fox News host mentioned it again when he returned to air.

Last week, amid Fox News retracting a story and public pleas from Rich?s family to cease peddling a conspiracy theory surrounding the 27-year-old?s death, Hannity said he would stop talking about the subject ?for now.? Apparently that lasted only a few days, as the host told his audience Tuesday night after a short vacation that he was ?getting close? to sharing more information.

The Fox News host said he was ?happy to accommodate? Rich?s family last week, but wanted to remind his audience that he was still ?investigating? Rich?s death.

?Out of respect for the family?s wishes, I decided for the time being not to discuss it unless there were further developments,? Hannity said. ?But I also promised you, my loyal audience, that I would not stop investigating, that I would not stop asking questions … Now I can report, I am making progress. We?ll have a lot more coming probably sooner than later.?

Police suspect Rich was fatally shot in a botched robbery attempt while he was walking in his Washington, D.C., neighborhood in July. Last week, Fox News retracted a thinly sourced story linking the slain former DNC staffer to WikiLeaks. The news organization also removed the story from its website. 

Hannity?s insistence on addressing the conspiracy theory caused some advertisers to pull their spots from his show. 

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Transgender Teen Wins Landmark Ruling Over Right To Use Boys Bathroom

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that a transgender high school student in Wisconsin has both a constitutional and statutory right to use the bathroom that aligns with his gender identity.

The ruling, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for 7th Circuit in Chicago, is the first of its kind and could open the door for other courts ? and eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ? to find that both the Constitution and federal law protect trans students from school-based discrimination.

The court described the ordeal of Ashton ?Ash? Whitaker, the teen at the center of the case, as that of ?a 17-year?old high school senior who has what would seem like a simple request: to use the boys? restroom while at school.?

With his mother?s support, Whitaker had sued his school district, the Kenosha Unified School District, after he was barred from using the facilities other boys used and was relegated instead to the girls? restroom or a gender-neutral bathroom in the main office.

This singling out, Whitaker?s lawsuit maintained, violated both the constitutional guarantee of equality and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which forbids sex discrimination by school entities receiving federal funding. The 7th Circuit agreed with both claims and upheld an injunction that directed the school to accommodate the student.

?Here, the School District?s policy cannot be stated without referencing sex, as the School District decides which bathroom a student may use based upon the sex listed on the student?s birth certificate,? wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams for a three-judge panel. ?This policy is inherently based upon a sex?classification and heightened review applies.?

That language matters, because it could prove persuasive to other appeals courts considering whether existing law treats gender identity as a protected category in the school context, said Joe Wardenski, a member of the legal team representing Whitaker.

The ruling ?is the first federal appeals court to decisively hold that that both Title IX and the 14th Amendment provide protections to transgender students,? Wardenski said.

As timing would have it, the 7th Circuit ? which covers the states of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana ? heard oral arguments in the dispute only weeks after the Supreme Court punted on the case of Gavin Grimm, a Virginia teen who was hoping to convince the justices that federal law as interpreted by the Obama administration already forbids school officials from discriminating against transgender students.

The election of President Donald Trump, however, changed the legal landscape, and both the departments of Justice and Education ? which had previously supported Grimm?s case and were responsible for pro-trans directives issued nationwide ? rolled back the prior administration?s view of what accommodations Title IX requires.

That change in positions led the Supreme Court to duck the issue altogether, leaving plaintiffs like Whitaker and Grimm to argue that Title IX itself ? which doesn?t expressly cover gender identity ? nonetheless covers claims of ?sex? stereotyping against trans students.

The 7th Circuit embraced that approach in Tuesday?s ruling, suggesting that because ?a transgender individual does not conform to the sex?based stereotypes of the sex that he or she was assigned at birth,? it?s unlawful to stigmatize a student based those stereotypes.

?A policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non?conformance, which in turn violates Title IX,? Judge Williams wrote.

The ruling in favor of Whitaker arrives less than two months since the full 7th Circuit ruled in another watershed case that federal employment law forbids discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace.

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This Indonesian All-Girl Heavy Metal Band Is Many Kinds Of Awesome

With their heads covered with Islamic headscarves, the three members of the Indonesian band VoB (?Voice of Baceprot? or ?Noisy Voice?) do not look like your typical heavy metal group.

Formed in 2014, the band of teenagers met at school in Indonesia?s most populous province of West Java, and use their music to combat the stereotype of Muslim women as submissive or voiceless.

Wearing a hijab, or Islamic head scarf, should not be a barrier to the group?s pursuit of its dream of being heavy metal stars, said Firdda Kurnia, 16, who plays guitar and sings.

?I think gender equality should be supported, because I feel I am still exploring my creativity, while at the same time, not diminishing my obligations as a Muslim woman,? she added. 

Invited to perform at a recent graduation ceremony at another school, the trio quickly had fans dancing and head-banging at the front of the stage.

?I don?t see anything wrong with it,? said one fan who attended, Teti Putriwulandari Sari. ?There?s no law that bars hijab-wearing women from playing hardcore music.

?This also relates to human rights. If a Muslim girl has a talent to play the drums or a guitar, should she not be allowed??

Besides covering classics by groups such as Metallica and Slipknot, the band perform their own songs on issues such as the state of education in Indonesia.

Muslims make up nearly 90 percent of a population of 250 million, the vast majority practising a moderate form of Islam, although there are some conservative strongholds.

Not everyone in the town of Garut, where the band was formed, and which is home to several Islamic schools, feels the community is ready for them, or that their music is appropriate for performance by young Muslim women.

?It is unusual to see a group of hijab-wearing girls playing metal music or even women shouting,? said Muhammad Sholeh, a teacher at the town?s Cipari Islamic boarding school, adding that religious pop music was popular with many young Muslims.

?But we?re talking about metal here, which is loud.?

Maudya Mulyawati, a student at the school, felt the band should focus on singing ?Salawat?, an invocation to the religion?s founder, Prophet Mohammad.

An official of a top clerical body said although the group might trigger a culture clash in a conservative area, he did not feel it broke with Islamic values.

?I see this as part of the creativity of teenagers,? added Nur Khamim Djuremi, secretary general of the Islamic Art and Culture Division of Indonesia?s Ulema Council.

 

(Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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2 Men Killed On Portland Train After Trying To Stop Anti-Muslim Rant, Police Say

Two men are being hailed as heroes after they were killed while trying to stop a man from abusing two women on a train in Portland, Oregon, because they appeared to be Muslim.

Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of North Portland, allegedly attacked the men on a MAX train at the Hollywood Transit Station at 4:30 p.m. Friday. He was charged with two counts of aggravated murder over the incident, which occurred hours before the start of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Witnesses said at least one of the women the suspect targeted was wearing a hijab, and it appeared the abuse was religiously and racially motivated. Christian is known to locals and authorities as an active white supremacist.

?He said, ?Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don?t pay taxes here,?? Evelin Hernandez, a passenger on the train, told KATU-TV.

Three men intervened amid the suspect?s ?ranting and raving,? Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said during a news conference. ?They were attacked viciously by the suspect.?

He?s always been spouting anti-establishment stuff but he?s a nice person I just can?t imagine.?
Mary Christian, the suspect’s mother

A GoFundMe page was set up by a Portland-area business owner to help support the families of the ?Tri Met Heroes.?

The suspect?s mother, Mary Christian, told HuffPost early Saturday that she had no idea that her son might have been involved.

?It?s scary,? she said. ?I can?t imagine he would do anything like this, unless he was on drugs or something. He?s been in prison, he?s always been spouting anti-establishment stuff but he?s a nice person I just can?t imagine.?

Police said one of the men who intervened died on the train. The other died later in hospital, while the third man was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Officers detained Christian soon after he got off the train, police said. They were unable to interview the women, however, as they?d already left the area.

Police booked Christian into the Multnomah County Jail early Saturday. Along with the aggravated murder charges, he faces two counts of intimidation in the second degree, one of attempted murder and one count of being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

Christian has previously been convicted for felony robbery, kidnapping and possession of weapons. He will be arraigned in Multnomah County Court on Monday, where he may face additional charges, authorities say.

His ties to white supremacy include attending local rallies, according to authorities. On April 29, police confiscated a baseball bat from him at a ?March for Free Speech? rally, after which he screamed racial epithets and gave the Nazi salute throughout the day, the Portland Mercury reports.

The Willamette Week identified him as being the man in the American flag in the below video:

Police said they were familiar with Christian but they did not see him as a threat to public safety, adding that he suffered from mental illness. His mother told HuffPost that she didn?t believe he was mentally ill.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement in response to the attack Friday calling on President Donald Trump to speak out against anti-Muslim incidents, which it said had increased more than 50 percent in the U.S. from 2015 to 2016.

?President Trump must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities,? said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. 

?Only a strong statement from the nation?s leader will send a message to bigots that such acts of violence targeting racial, ethnic or religious minorities are unacceptable.?

Trump?s administration may be moving in the opposite direction on white nationalism, however. Muslim advocacy groups and a program that works to rehabilitate neo-Nazis may lose funding if Trump narrows the focus of the Countering Violent Extremism grant program to Islamic extremism. As it stood under the Obama administration, groups dedicated to help combat Islamophobia and other hate group at home shared millions in funding, alongside groups that deterred recruitment by Islamic terrorist groups.

TriMet, the transit provider in the Portland region, confirmed there would be delays following the incident and issued messages of condolences over the deaths:

Police said the Oregon State Medical Examiner would conduct autopsies on the two men on Saturday morning. They will release the names of the three victims soon after, they added.

This article has been updated throughout.

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‘The Simpsons’ Trolls Donald Trump With A Visit From Richard Nixon’s Ghost

?The Simpsons? has marked President Donald Trump?s first 125 days in office in comic style.

In a new short posted online Friday the cartoon version of Trump attempts to patch things up with fired FBI Director James Comey, who?d been leading an investigation into possible ties between Trump officials and Russia.

But their White House bedroom rendezvous is interrupted by a visit from former President Richard Nixon?s ghost, who thanks Trump for bumping him up in the ?best president? stakes before offering him some sage advice.

Check it out in the segment above.

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U.S. Lawmakers Call On Russia To End Alleged Killings Of Gay Men In Chechnya

A bipartisan group of House representatives called on Russia?s government to condemn the alleged persecution of gay men in the country?s Chechnya region with a resolution this week.  

H. Res. 351, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and was introduced Wednesday, called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to investigate the troubling claims of abuse and murder of gay men in Chechnya.

The claims initially emerged in April when a Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported that at least 100 men had been detained ?in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation.? Three of those men, the report found, had possibly been killed.

A second Novaya Gazeta article, published April 4, cited a source who claimed that the Muslim-majority region?s anti-LGBTQ efforts included Nazi-style concentration camps.

Ros-Lehtinen, whose son identifies as transgender, said U.S. lawmakers ?must pressure Russia to uphold its international commitment to prevent any further abuses from happening while perpetrators are brought to justice? in a statement. ?For over a month, hundreds of gay or perceived to be gay Chechens have been arrested, many have been tortured, and some even killed,? she said. ?This bipartisan resolution sends a clear message to Chechnya and Russia authorities and any oppressor that the U.S. will not stand idly while these human rights atrocities are being committed.?  

No word yet on how Russia will respond to the resolution. The Novaya Gazeta reports have been repeatedly dismissed by Chechnya?s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. ?You cannot arrest or repress people who just don?t exist in the republic,? Kadyrov?s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, is quoted by The New York Times as saying. 

Ros-Lehtinen was joined by 52 other representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties as co-sponsors of H. Res. 351. The resolution passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday by a unanimous voice vote. 

In a statement, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) called reports of the alleged torture ?chilling,? and noted, ?We are witnessing the unfolding of a horrific tragedy and it?s long past time that the Kremlin start protecting its own citizens?all of them?regardless of sexual orientation.? Putin, he added, must ?respect and promote the dignity of all persons and provide safe haven for all those fleeing such horrific persecution.?

Elected officials and celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Bomer and Billy Eichner have spoken out against the allegations in the weeks since the news first broke. The resolution itself follows U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley?s push for an investigation into the Chechen abuse claims, which she called a ?violation of human rights.?

Don?t miss the latest in LGBTQ news ? subscribe to the Queer Voices newsletter.  

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Why Won’t the United States Strike North Korea First?

North Korea keeps raising the stakes in its threats to America. The communist government indicates it’s developing technology to wage a nuclear attack. So when is enough, enough and will the United States consider a first strike?


Florida Just Became The Latest State To Abolish The ‘Tampon Tax’

Florida just joined the growing list of states that have put an end to the so-called ?tampon tax.? 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law on Thursday making feminine hygiene products including tampons, pads and menstrual cups tax-exempt, the AP reports. The law goes into effect in January.

The measure was part of a larger $180 million tax cut package. 

The majority of states across the country subject menstrual products to sales taxes because they?re considered a ?luxury? item.

But opponents of the standard argue that feminine products are a necessity and that taxing them is effectively a tax on menstruation. (The Tax Foundation, the conservative-leaning non-profit, has countered that ideally, sales tax should apply to all consumer products, regardless of whether they?re a ?necessity? or ?luxury.?)

According to the AP, Florida now joins 13 other states that, in addition to Washington D.C., have exempt menstrual products from sales tax or do not have a sales tax at all. Measures doing away with the tax have enjoyed unusually bi-partisan support in state legislators, prompting media outlets to call them ?viral legislation.? Florida, for example, is a politically purple state with a decidedly mixed record on reproductive and women?s rights ? yet the change was supported by progressive and conservative lawmakers alike.

?This common sense legislation will result in a tax savings for women all over the state who purchase these necessary products,? Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), who originally filed the bill, said in a press release

However, not all states have jumped onboard. California, a traditionally blue state, tried to pass such a measure last year. It failed when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it despite broad support in the House and Senate.

?Women have no choice but to buy these products,? said one California assemblywoman who championed the California bill.

?You can?t just ignore your period,? she added. ?It?s not like you can just ignore the constant flow.?

Estimates suggest that women spend more than $18,000 on their periods over the course of their lifetime, between pads, tampons, birth control and new underwear. 

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New oil production starts offshore Brazil

Production started from a floating production platform off the coast of Brazil that can process up to 150,000 barrels of oil per day, Royal Dutch Shell said.


‘Magic air’

There is concern about the increasing theft of oxygen bottles from high camps.


Greg Gianforte Blasted In Last-Minute Campaign Ads After ‘Body Slamming’ Reporter

After police charged him for assaulting a reporter late Wednesday, Montana Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte is being targeted with last-minute campaign ads that highlight the incident as evidence he is ?unfit to serve? and has ?no business being in Congress.?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and liberal group MoveOn.org each created ads against Gianforte soon after news of the altercation broke Wednesday evening. The ads, running as voters head to the polls in Thursday?s special election to fill Montana?s lone House seat, feature the direct audio recording of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs? violent interaction with Gianforte.

After Jacobs tried to ask him a question about the GOP?s Obamacare repeal bill, Gianforte reportedly ?body slammed? Jacobs and broke his glasses. Fox News reporters who witnessed the altercation backed up Jacobs? account.

On Wednesday night, police charged Gianforte with assault.

?Charged with a crime. No business being in Congress,? says the DCCC ad. The DCCC also demanded that Gianforte ?immediately withdraw? from the race.

MoveOn.org?s ad calls Gianforte ?unfit to serve.?

Gianforte told Jacobs he was exasperated with reporters? questions.

?I?m sick and tired of you guys!? he said, according to Jacobs? audio.

Yet taking questions from reporters is a basic requirement for elected officials.

It is unclear whether the incident will upend the already highly anticipated race between Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist. Many residents have already cast their votes because Montana has mail-in voting. But the state also has same-day registration, so the assault case could attract to the polls some Montanans who were going to skip voting.

The seat was vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke, who after easily winning re-election last November was picked by President Donald Trump to be the Interior Department secretary. The race to replace him has been closer than expected, with polls showing Quist within single digits of Gianforte despite Montana?s GOP tilt. The race has drawn national attention from both parties, amid Trump?s mounting scandals, GOP unpopularity and a groundswell of Democratic activism.

Watch both ads above.

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Nato and Trump

Nato leaders are playing down President Trump’s first visit to the Brussels HQ.