Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK

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Image caption The Bayeux Tapestry is 70m (230ft) long

The Bayeux Tapestry is set to be displayed in the UK after France agreed it could leave its shores for the first time in 950 years, the BBC understands.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce the loan during his visit to the UK on Thursday.

He has said the tapestry – which depicts the Norman Conquest of England – would not be transferred before 2020.

The Times said the loan was subject to the outcome of tests to make sure the 11th Century artwork was safe to move.

The tapestry tells the story of the future William I’s conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings and the defeat of Harold in 1066.

It is on permanent display at a museum in the town of Bayeux, in Normandy, and has very rarely been moved.

However, President Macron is expected to announce the proposed loan at a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May in the UK this week.

The Times said the agreement was made after “months of talks between culture department officials in London and Paris” but it has not yet been decided where in the UK the tapestry will be displayed.

What are the origins of the tapestry?

Historians have long debated the origins of the tapestry, which is 70m (230ft) long and 50cm high.

The earliest written reference to it is an inventory from Bayeux Cathedral in 1476, but little is known about how or why it was created.

According to Reading Museum, which houses a replica of the tapestry, it was “probably commissioned” in the 1070s by the half-brother of William the Conqueror – the Bishop Odo of Bayeux.

Some say it was created by teams of nuns across England – not France – possibly in Canterbury, Kent.

In 2012, a PhD researcher at the University of Manchester said the artwork’s needlework was “consistent throughout”, suggesting one group of specialist embroiderers worked on it, in the same place at the same time.

What does it depict?

The tapestry shows the events leading up to the Norman takeover of England.

It starts with Edward the Confessor, who became king in 1042, on the throne and tells the story of his death and the questions over who was the rightful heir.

In 1066, on the day of Edward’s funeral, his brother-in-law Harold was crowned king.

News of his appointment reached France and William of Normandy, who claimed he should be king as Edward had promised him the throne of England.

Image caption Harold is crowned king after the death of Edward the Confessor

On 14 October 1066, William I and King Harold II came to loggerheads at the Battle of Hastings – one of the most famous battles in English history.

It is likely both sides had between 5,000 and 7,000 men each when they met in battle at a hilltop near Hastings.

Thousands of soldiers were killed in a day of a fighting, which ended in King Harold II’s death.

It was a turning point in history as it ended the Anglo-Saxons’s long reign of more than 600 years.

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Where has it been exhibited?

Image caption The tapestry shows King Harold being killed by an arrow in his eye

Napoleon put the tapestry on display in Paris in 1804, while he was planning an invasion of England.

It was then exhibited in Paris for the second time in 1944, during World War II, before it was returned to Bayeux.

Mr Macron’s offer comes after previous attempts to bring the tapestry to Britain failed.

One request is thought to have been made ahead of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, while another was made for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, in 1966.

Some have suggested the tapestry could be relocated to the British Museum if it gets the go ahead to come to the UK.

Dr Michael Lewis of the museum told the Victoria Derbyshire programme 1066 was a date “we all know” from being at school so it would be “amazing” if children could go and see the tapestry.

“For the wider public, people will be amazed about how long it is, and it definitely has a real impact when you see this work of art,” he added.

Can it be moved?

Tests will decide if the tapestry can be moved safely and get to the UK in one piece.

BBC History magazine’s Dr David Musgrove says its size, age and obvious fragility makes moving it a concern.

But he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme moving it would also present an opportunity to conduct some interesting historical research on its dyes and fabrics.

What are the myths and legends of the tapestry?

The story that Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye is thought to have come from the tapestry. However, earlier sources dispute this and claim he was hacked to death by four Norman knights.

Dr Levi Roach, a medieval historian at the University of Exeter, said the tapestry was confiscated for military use, for covering weapons, during the French Revolution, before a lawyer saved it.

Should we give them something in return?

Tom Tugenhadt, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, said the UK should “definitely” consider it.

“This is an opportunity for us to cement the relationship,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“One of the interesting items we might perhaps think about lending… is the Rosetta stone, which was discovered in Egypt.”

According to the British Museum, it is likely that the stone was found by Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers while on a mission to threaten Britain’s hold on India.

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Sessions’ DOJ Charged A White Supremacist With Terrorism. They Just Didn’t Tell Anyone.

WASHINGTON ― Usually, when the FBI arrests a terrorist and the Justice Department charges them, it’s a big deal. Combatting terrorism is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities, and terror cases are a great way for federal prosecutors and agents to make names and build careers. The press and the public are very interested. Officials will typically blast out a press release, and, if it’s a big takedown, might even hold a press conference. 

The Justice Department didn’t do any of that when federal prosecutors unsealed terrorism charges last week against Taylor Michael Wilson. The 26-year-old white supremacist from St. Charles, Missouri, allegedly breached a secure area of an Amtrak train on Oct. 22 while armed with a gun and plenty of backup ammunition. He set off the emergency brake, sending passengers lunging as the train cars went “completely black.”

The attempted terrorist attack took place aboard an Amtrak train that started off in California and was making its way through a part of Nebraska so remote that it took an hour for the nearest deputy to arrive on the scene. Wilson was found in the second engine of the train, “playing with the controls,” according to the FBI affidavit.

As passengers waited in dark train cars that smelled of burning rubber, Amtrak workers kept the man pinned down. “I’m the conductor, bitch,” Wilson allegedly said to Amtrak personnel while subdued. They say Wilson had tried to reach for his front waistband, where he was storing a fully loaded handgun.

Furnas County Sheriffs Office
Taylor Michael Wilson.

The incident received little national coverage at the time, perhaps in large part because law enforcement officials didn’t initially treat it as a terrorism case. A subsequent FBI investigation, however, painted a disturbing portrait of an individual who escalated his radical activity in recent years as he built up a massive gun stash, even hiding weapons and extremist propaganda in a secret compartment behind his refrigerator.

In a court affidavit, the FBI agent who investigated the attempted terrorist attack said he’d learned that Wilson traveled with an “alt-right Neo Nazi group” to the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August; may have helped vandalize restaurants with “whites only” stickers; pointed a gun at a black woman during a road rage incident; and spoke of “killing black people” during recent protests against police violence in St. Louis. 

But even when the federal terrorism charges were unsealed against Wilson last week, the case didn’t get a ton of national pickup. One key reason: The Justice Department didn’t tell anyone.

There was no press release on the case out of Justice Department headquarters in Washington, nor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nebraska. The reporter who broke the story of the terrorism charges on Thursday evening, Lori Pilger of the Lincoln Journal Star, told HuffPost that she spotted the unsealed case when checking the federal court docket online.

On its face, the lack of attention the Wilson case received from Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department could read as a brazen political decision by Trump administration officials to obscure a terrorism case that doesn’t fit into their broader agenda. Why would they want to highlight a terrorism charge against an alleged neo-Nazi who attended a violent alt-right event that President Donald Trump insisted included “very fine people”?

But the lack of attention the Wilson case has received actually reflects the priorities embedded in a system built up by U.S. lawmakers and law enforcement officials over the years: a U.S. criminal code and federal law enforcement apparatus that treats domestic terrorism as a second-class threat.

Many in the law enforcement community acknowledge that’s a problem.

“This type of a crime certainly, from a perspective of seriousness and the potential for injuring or even killing large numbers of people, is very much on par with other terrorism crimes that we’ve seen in the United States and elsewhere which are motivated by the Islamist extremist ideologies such as that promoted by ISIS,” Mary McCord, a Justice Department veteran who headed DOJ’s National Security Division until last spring, told HuffPost.

Alex Wong via Getty Images
Mary McCord formerly headed up the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

“If this alleged crime had been committed by someone who at the time of arrest or elsewhere said that he was pledging Bay’ah [allegiance] to [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al] Baghdadi or doing this for reasons motivated by ISIS, or al Qaeda, or some other Islamist extremist organization, that would be considered an international terrorist offense,” McCord said. That would mean the National Security Division would’ve been closely involved. There would have been a national press release.

Because it was considered a domestic terrorism case, the Wilson investigation apparently was hardly a blip on the National Security Division’s radar. Attorneys at DOJ headquarters in Washington typically play a minimal role in domestic terrorist investigations, and court filings in the case against Wilson don’t indicate any involvement from the National Security Division. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska told HuffPost the case was handled “solely” by federal prosecutors in Nebraska.

The spokesman, Joe Jeanette, had a simple answer for why his office didn’t send out a press release: the criminal chief, who normally sends out information on new cases, was off at the time the Wilson case was unsealed.

McCord doesn’t think that the lack of a press release alone indicated that anyone in the U.S. Attorney’s Office was not taking the crime seriously, and said the affidavit showed that the FBI got involved in the case pretty quickly and did the work they needed to do. But broadly speaking, she worries that the Justice Department isn’t putting the same sort of institutional emphasis on domestic terrorism cases as they do with terrorism cases involving Islamic extremists.

“I think that domestic terrorism should be put on the same moral plane as international terrorism,” McCord said. “When the reason for a crime of violence is in order to influence a civilian population, or influence actions of the government … it certainly has the same level of seriousness and should be taken just as seriously as international terrorism.”

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Neo Nazis, white supremacists, and members of the alt-right marched on the campus of the University of Virginia in August.

A close review of how the Wilson case unfolded indicates that, at virtually every step along the way, the investigation into the 26-year-old was handled differently than it would have been if authorities had any suspicion Wilson was inspired by any foreign terrorist organization, like the self-described Islamic State.

At the time of Wilson’s arrest, local authorities took a full day to inform the FBI, indicating they likely did not consider the incident a terrorist event at first. Wilson was found carrying business cards for the National Socialist Movement (America’s neo-Nazi party) and the Covenant Nation Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is based on the belief that “White people are part of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.” He was charged only with felony criminal mischief and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony on the local level. There were questions about his mental health, but Wilson was deemed competent to proceed.

Remarkably, Wilson was released by local authorities on a partially secured bond on Dec. 11. By the time of his release, the FBI was aware of Wilson’s extremist views, his involvement in two potential hate crimes, and his extensive weapons cache. But they hadn’t yet obtained or executed a search warrant on his home. Wilson spent nearly two weeks out of custody until he was eventually arrested by federal authorities on Dec. 23, several days after federal agents executed their search warrant on an apartment he shared with his cousin.

In international terrorism investigations, federal agents often zero in on what friends and family members knew about a suspect’s path of radicalization. Wilson’s family, according to an affidavit from the FBI agent Monte Czaplewski, evidently knew a lot. His cousin, who cooperated with authorities, said Wilson had joined a neo-Nazi group he’d found online; traveled to Charlottesville with a shield and bulletproof vest; built up a weapons stash of more than 20 guns; and expressed an “interest in ‘killing black people’ and other people of color, especially during the protests in St. Louis.” The cousin believed Wilson was “serious about killing black people.”

Wilson’s parents, Michael D. Wilson and Ann S. Wilson, may have misled investigators about their son. They allegedly told agents that they didn’t know where Wilson resided, only that he lived “in an apartment somewhere” in the St. Louis region, even though he lived in a residence owned by Wilson’s mother. They claimed they never heard of the National Socialist Movement and that they never knew their son to be involved with white supremacists, but both parents refused to “discuss any discussions they had with Taylor Wilson regarding race relations.”

Later, when agents were executing their search warrant on Wilson’s home, his father Michael showed up. The FBI affidavit said it was “evident” that he “had knowledge of both the existence and location” of Wilson’s firearms, and gave 15 guns to FBI agents after he consulted with his attorney. One of the weapons was fully automatic, while another was converted to a short rifle, both potential violations of the law. 

Many Americans are surprised to learn that the U.S. lacks a domestic terrorism statute that broadly outlaws and attaches criminal penalties to acts of violence committed for a political cause. The only reason a federal terrorism charge was even available against Wilson is because of his particular target: Attacks on trains are explicitly outlawed and labeled as terrorism in federal law. Other statutes spell out specific criminal acts of terrorism like hijacking an airplane, setting off certain bombs or killing government officials. But while the U.S. code defines domestic terrorism, there’s no federal law that outlaws all types of politically motivated violence.

The lack of a domestic terrorism statute has long frustrated some federal officials. After Dylann Roof murdered nine churchgoers in Charleston in 2015, former Attorney General Eric Holder pointed out the double standard in an interview with HuffPost.

“With a different set of circumstances, and if you had dialed in religion there, Islam, that would be called an act of terror,” he said. Other federal officials, like former FBI Director James Comey, danced around using the word terrorism in cases like the Charleston church massacre because it didn’t fit any explicit federal terrorism statute.

Pacific Press via Getty Images
 Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and others in the alt-right gathered in Charlottesville in August.

While there’s no indication that politics explicitly played a role in the lack of a press release in the Wilson case, it certainly doesn’t fit the mold of the type of prosecution that Sessions and his Justice Department would seek to promote.

Under Trump, DOJ press releases have placed a big emphasis on immigration: there’s been a big spike in press releases that use the term “alien,” lots of releases about “sanctuary cities,” and headlines about the “return to the rule of law.” Sessions, The Washington Post reported in November, also takes a keen interest in the lineage of terror suspects during briefings with Justice Department officials, even when they tell the attorney general that a suspect is a U.S. citizen. Some DOJ officials think that indicates Sessions’ “innate suspicion about people from certain ethnic and religious backgrounds,” the Post reported. 

NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Reading the affidavit, even Wilson appears to have been surprised by the way his case was handled, and how little attention the attack received when it first happened.

In a jail phone call shortly after his arrest, Wilson seemed surprised that the media account of the incident that his mother recounted didn’t have much detail, only saying that a man with a gun pushed the emergency button of the train.

“That’s it?” he asked. His mother admonished him, reminding him the call was being recorded.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering criminal justice, federal law enforcement and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at or on Signal at (202) 527-9261.

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SERIOUSLY!? City of Seattle’s response to reports about new soda tax proves prog pols FAILED Econ-101

The city of Seattle had a new soda tax kick in on January 1st, and it’s quite a doozy:

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Secret Pro-Life Meeting With Mike Pence Killed Obamacare FixFor Now

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the U.S. health-insurance markets collapsed last month after anti-abortion groups appealed directly to Vice President Mike Pence at the 11th hour, The Daily Beast has learned.

Amid opposition from conservatives in the House of Representatives, a group of pro-life activists met with Pence to lobby the Trump administration against supporting a health-insurance market-stabilization bill on the grounds that it does not contain sufficient language on abortion restrictions, according to sources with direct knowledge of the meeting. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was also in attendance at the Dec. 19 meeting, three of the sources said.

The next day, key lawmakers involved in crafting the legislation announced they were punting on the issue until 2018.

A spokeswoman for the vice president confirmed the meeting to The Daily Beast. A spokesman for McConnell did not respond to requests for comment.

Efforts to pressure Pence, a hardline social conservative and a former lawmaker, are thrusting abortion back onto the national stage in a debate over the future of health care in America, as Republicans deliberate behind closed doors on whether to try to scrap Obamacare again in 2018.

That effortthough it failed in the Senate several times last yearwas bolstered when the House and Senate passed a sweeping tax-overhaul bill last month. The legislation included a provision that scrapped the Obamacare individual mandate, a measure that required Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

The tax bill passed the Senate due in large part to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) vote, which was contingent upon the Senate voting at a later date on the bipartisan health-insurance market-stabilization bill that was crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Collins has argued that the legislation would mitigate the effects of the individual-mandate repeal, which the Congressional Budget Office said would result in 13 million more Americans without insurance over the next 10 years. Collins also pushed for her bill with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) that would allocate $10.5 billion for a federal reinsurance pool.

The Alexander-Murray legislation would restore Obamacare subsidies that the Trump administration cut off in October, and it would give individual states more flexibility to set insurance regulations. The Republican proponents of the bill argue that it would serve as a short-term stabilization measure to transition away from the Affordable Care Act, assuming congressional Republicans can come toor even seekan agreement on a replacement.

The bill, though, has an unclear path forward. It was thought to have enough support to pass the Senate, but Democrats appear to be backing off the bill, blaming the GOPs elimination of the individual mandate.

The Republicans want the bill. My question is, with the change in the marketplace that they created with the tax bill, is it still going to work? We dont have the answer, Murray, the co-creator of the compromise bill, told The Daily Beast. The marketplace has changed dramatically. So were looking at it.

Even before the individual mandate was repealed as part of the tax bill, Alexander-Murray did not pass muster with House Republicans, who last month floated the idea of adding a provision on the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal dollars from being used for abortions. The pro-life activists who met with Pence last month said the absence of such a measure in the Alexander-Murray bill is a major red flag because it means that the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, could be used on health plans that fund abortions.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, wrote in a letter to lawmakers last month that supporting Alexander-Murray is a vote to directly appropriate taxpayer dollars for insurance that includes abortion. Dannenfelser attended the meeting with Pence, which was viewed as critical because President Donald Trump had expressed support for Alexander-Murray in closed-door meetings on Capitol Hill, according to senators who attended those meetings.

Supporters of the legislation note that Hyde protections already exist under Obamacarethough pro-life activists claim that those are watered downand Republican senators pointed to a recent memo from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stating that the Trump administration would enforce those existing abortion provisions more strictly than the Obama administration did.

Moreover, the law itself only lasts through 2019 as a way to give Republicans enough time to come up with an Obamacare replacement. Still, social conservatives are seeking to further codify those protections so that they could outlast the Trump administration.

Adding Hyde Amendment language would shore up conservative support in the House, where Alexander-Murray has faced stiff opposition from hardliners who argue that the legislation simply props up Obamacare. At the same time, though, such a change to the legislationwhich was already brokered in a way that gave concessions to both sideswould nearly eliminate Democratic support for the bill, tanking it altogether.

McConnells attendance at the meeting was notable because he, at the urging of Alexander and Collins, delayed a vote on Alexander-Murray until after the holiday recess after initially promising Collins a vote on the bill in December. Republicans were considering adding Alexander-Murray to the government-funding bill before lawmakers left for the holidays, but such a move would have given House Republicans a reason to vote against the short-term funding measure, thereby threatening a government shutdown just three days before Christmas.

The day after the Pence meeting, Collins and Alexander announced they were urging McConnell to punt on the issue until January.

But as congressional leaders continue to negotiate a two-year government funding bill and an immigration deal, health care is expected to take a back seat even as talks continue. Lawmakers must come to an agreement on a funding mechanism before Jan. 19 in order to keep the governments lights on.

Betsy Woodruff contributed reporting.

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50+ Times American Healthcare System Shocked The Rest Of The World

While the United States has largely considered itself as the greatest country in the world for the last few decades, the statistics tell us that there are areas where things can definitely be improved.

In military might and defence spending the U.S. is undisputedly number one. But in other areas, more important aspects of human wellbeing such as education, life expectancy, happiness, gender and income equality and healthcare, there are more mixed results.

The U.S. healthcare system in particular is a continuing source of bafflement for many, who are accustomed to a degree of protection against the double disaster of poor health followed by financial ruin.

While American hospitals and medical facilities are world class, they are also incredibly expensive and available only to those able to afford them. We at Bored Panda have compiled a list of examples that highlight the inadequacies of the current healthcare system, while polarised politicians continue to argue about their vision for its future. Scroll down to check them out below, and stay healthy over there in America, y’all.

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5 Huge Celebrity Scandals The Entire Planet Got Wrong

The media has the amazing ability to shed light on terrible situations and stand by victims when no one else will. That or, you know, just point and laugh at them. Usually, the rest of us are too busy laughing along to notice this is happening, but if you look back, it’s painfully obvious. Here are five times the media came across someone who clearly needed help and said, “Yeah, but wouldn’t it be more helpful if we mocked the shit out of them?”


We Were All Obsessed With Diagnosing Charlie Sheen’s Exact Mental Illness (For Some Reason)

Back in 2011, people, websites, and media outlets of all political inclinations united for what seemed like a worthy cause at the time: making fun of Charlie Sheen. It got to the point where some lowly dick joke sites had to specifically ask their writers to avoid “Charlie Sheen is insane” zingers — it was far too easy. It all started when Sheen was canned from Two And A Half Men due to his erratic behavior, which led to a series of high-profile interviews wherein he attempted to explain that he was totally clean and sane. They, uh, didn’t go that way.

Hell, there’s still a weird corner of YouTube solely devoted to “Worst of Charlie Sheen” compilations. This auto-tuned one has over 60 million views:

One particularly notable line from Sheen’s interview with ABC News’ Andrea Canning (which is also highlighted heavily in the memes and songs) involved his mental state. Canning suggests that perhaps Sheen is bipolar, to which the star of Hot Shots! Part Deux replies that he’s simply “bi-winning.” And that’s where this starts to fall apart.

See, there’s a bad habit in the media to try to get mental health professionals to “diagnose” a famous person they’ve never met, which is very much against that field’s entire code of ethics. In a stunning display of sticking to their guns, psychiatrists are even refusing to diagnose President Trump from afar. So why was the media so hellbent on getting a diagnosis on the guy from some crappy sitcom? Time got specialists to analyze his speech to determine whether he was crazy or merely a drug addict. To this day, Dr. Drew is remarkably hung up on Sheen:

GoogleYou’d think someone with two “Dr”s in his name would know better.

The media made it clear that figuring out what was wrong with Sheen was way more important than encouraging him to get help, which is a very different thing. Sheen admitted to Canning that he had no idea what bipolar disorder even meant, and Canning didn’t seem terribly informed herself (for future reference, it’s more complicated than being “on two ends of a spectrum,” as she put it). So after that whole kerfuffle, what did Sheen do? He organized a bipolar disorder awareness walk in Toronto, with funds going to a Canadian support group. Canning, meanwhile, only walked away as part of a meme.


Vanessa Hudgens Had To Apologize For Someone Else Leaking Her Nude Photos

When you’re a Disney child star, you’re expected to be a lot more than some kid who acts in movies and TV shows. You’re supposed to be a wholesome young chap or chapette who represents the family friendly values of the company, but also cool and desirable enough to decorate the walls of millions of horned-up teenagers. The perfect Disney star is equal parts sexy and virginal. And most importantly, they should never, ever be naked.

This is what made it such a big scandal in 2007 when someone leaked nude photos of High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, who was 18 at the time. This was almost certainly a case of revenge porn, which is a crime most states prosecute today. But back in 2007? The media backlash centered not on the asswipe who did this, but on Hudgens herself, who had to issue an apology for … having nipples? Not being a vampire and showing up in photos?

At least Disney proved they had her back when they released a statement saying: “We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.”

Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesAnd yet this degenerate is allowed to parade in public without pants.

It’s also kind of important to note the timeframe in which this happened. In 2007, as you surely remember, we were somewhere in the middle of the second season of Hannah Montana. Miley Cyrus had yet to smoke her first bowl and take a steaming dump all over everything Disney held dear. Lindsay Lohan was two years removed from Herbie: Fully Loaded, and her own problems were only getting started. The pressure on Hudgens was pretty bad, and all those indignant articles describing “saucy snapshots” which showed her in non-“ladylike” positions didn’t help.

Even stupider is that even when trying to “defend” her, the media still can’t help but crack a joke. Here’s HuffPo in 2013, six years later:

HuffPostNeither is reading HuffPo.


Nobody Took Chelsea Manning’s Transition Seriously

The existence of transgender people has historically been a source of headaches and inconvenience for the media. “What pronouns do we use? Do we refer to them by the gender they were assigned at birth or how they identify? Do we treat them as people, or as monsters to be derided and mocked? It’s all so complicated!”

So when Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010, and later reports came out that she was transitioning, the media was confused, to say the least. Thing is, they shouldn’t have been. Manning explicitly said that her name was Chelsea and that she wanted to be referenced using female pronouns. It’s that easy. Nevertheless, practically every major newsroom in the country used masculine pronouns during much of the initial reporting — including outlets that already had rules about respecting transgender people’s wishes, like The New York Times and the Associated Press. Meanwhile, The Washington Post, in an impressive effort to avoid getting angry letters from any side, avoided pronouns altogether throughout an entire article.

On an even more stupid level, the terrible reporting was followed by articles about the terrible reporting which managed to be quite terrible themselves. Look at this stupid-ass headline:

TimeAnd whoever wrote this didn’t struggle enough.

There was a reason for disregarding Manning’s wishes other than ignorance or bigotry: money. Or at least clicks. Essentially, it came down to using key phrases in reporting — “Bradley Manning” was a household name, but Chelsea Manning was brand-new. Some grumpy news reader looking at would have clicked on a new report about “Bradley,” but looked at the same story about “Chelsea” and not known who the hell that was, thereby not clicking. And if they don’t click, they won’t share the article via an all-caps Facebook post, and then where would we be?


Monica Lewinsky Was As Vilified As Bill Clinton, Despite The Obvious Power Imbalance

Under most circumstances, going from being a fresh-faced intern to the biggest name in politics within a few years would be a good thing. For Monica Lewinsky, unfortunately, it meant that her name became synonymous with a sex act that no one else had apparently performed before or since.

As soon as the media learned of Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton, everybody across the political spectrum mocked her fairly harshly. Lewinsky jokes became a whole genre of comedy, especially for late-night talk show hosts like David Letterman.

CBS Television Studios

Even into the Bush presidency, Letterman still found time to make fun of Lewinsky. But why exactly did the American media think it was a good idea to rail on this young woman? Don’t get us wrong, making fun of Bill Clinton is totally fair, even necessary. He was the most powerful man in the world when the scandal happened, while Lewinsky was a 23-year-old intern who was barely out of college. Our military carries out orders from the president that they probably don’t agree with on a daily basis; do you think a young intern is going to have the fortitude to say “Sorry, just brushed my teeth” to the president of the United States? Him even asking for sexual favors was an abuse of power, but practically nobody covered the story that way.

After the scandal, Lewinsky was criticized for using her new celebrity status to make money, but she didn’t really have much of a choice there. Her career was ruined; people don’t generally get into politics in the hopes of one day selling a line of handbags. As much as she wanted to stay out of the spotlight, she’d been slapped with so many legal fees that she had to keep accepting every ridiculous offer that came her way. It was also really not cool that there were people seriously having discussions over whether or not Lewinsky references were “fair game” in the 2016 election. Everyone from Rosario Dawson to some rando Republican strategist in Florida had some kind of opinion on whether or not it was OK to drag Lewinsky’s name through the mud nearly 20 years after the fact when, again, it was not even Bill running for president.


The Media Pointed And Laughed At Britney Spears’ Mental Breakdown (And She’s Still Being Treated Poorly)

Man, 2007 was not a good time for anyone’s mental health. You may remember some of these headlines from your grocery store checkout lanes that year:

New York Daily News, New York Post, StarOh, but when Larry David gets the same hairdo, no one cares.

To recap, in 2007, Britney Spears was only 25 years old and on top of the goddamned world — or so we thought. After checking out of rehab, she decided that her hair extensions were too tight and asked her stylist to chop it all off. When the salon owner tried to talk her out of it, she grabbed some clippers and did the job herself. And because Spears was the type of celebrity who had paparazzi who would follow her off a bridge, the whole incident was caught on camera.

What did all of us do? We laughed. MTV, which could probably afford to serve caviar at the cafeteria thanks to her videos, let a clearly unprepared Spears lip-sync her way through an awkward, widely mocked VMAs performance. For a while there, “Britney Spears” replaced “Michael Jackson” as the punchline for every music industry joke. And inexplicably, the lone voice of reason in this whole debacle was a freaking viral video.

Vlogger Chris Crocker, better known as the “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” guy, was genuinely worried about Spears’ health and how everyone in the media was treating her when he recorded that video. His own mom had been struggling with some issues at the same time, and he was truly upset with the way people casually dismissed the mental health of women he looked up to in his life. So naturally, we started mocking the shit out of him, too.

Spears was eventually able to get some of the help she needed, but at the cost of having to put all of her money and future earnings into a “conservatorship” held by her father and an attorney. That’s the kind of thing you only do when grandma starts trying to deposit her cash in the microwave. Today, you could say that Spears has recovered reasonably well, what with her hit Las Vegas residency and critically acclaimed latest album … but she’s still not allowed to handle her own finances. Crocker needs to make a new video called “Let Britney Have A Debit Card.”

Isaac’s life is falling apart, but only on the inside. Follow him on Twitter anyway.

Charlie Sheen got really into “winning” in that whole period, and he put together his Winning Recipes cookbook after it.

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Sessions Ending Obama-Era Policy That Ushered In Legal Weed

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era policy that helped states legalize recreational marijuana, throwing a wet blanket on the fledgling industry during what could have been a celebratory week.

The Justice Department will reverse the so-called Cole and Ogden memos that set out guardrails for federal prosecution of cannabis and allowed legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the U.S., according to two senior agency officials. U.S. attorneys in states where pot is legal will now be able prosecute cases where they see fit, according to the officials, who requested anonymity discussing internal policy.

Shares of pot companies plunged as news of the policy change surfaced, though many began to rebound after investors weighed the potential impact.

The change comes at a high point for the weed industry. California, the biggest U.S. state and sixth-largest economy in the world, launched its legal marketplace on Jan. 1. Sales in California alone are expected to reach $3.7 billion in 2018, according to estimates from BDS Analytics. 

Seven other states and the District of Columbia have also legalized cannabis for adult use. Twenty-one additional states have voted to allow the plant to be used for medicinal purposes. The market is expected to skyrocket from $6 billion in 2016 to $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, has long been opposed to marijuana, equating it with heroin. But this is the first action he’s taken that deviates significantly from the Obama administration. Many in the industry said the news is unsurprising but disappointing.

“While dismantling the industry will prove impossible, the move by Sessions will sow more seeds of uncertainty in an industry that already has its fair share of risks and unknowns,” said Chris Walsh, vice president of Marijuana Business Daily. “Businesses could be in for a bumpy ride amid this uncertainty, and we certainly could see some types of regional crackdowns or delays in upcoming medical or recreational cannabis markets.”

Shares Plummet

The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Cannabis Competitive Peers Index dropped as much as 24 percent after the Associated Press first reported the Justice Department plan. Most companies in that group are small. Still, there are a few big names that could be hit by the changing policy. 

Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Corona beer and Svedka vodka in the U.S., got involved in the cannabis industry in October when it acquired a minority investment in Canopy Growth, a Canadian marijuana company. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has also made its way into the Green Rush. It fell as much as 5.7 percent after the news, the biggest intraday drop since May. 

A tightening of enforcement also would be felt in Canada, where the cannabis industry has blossomed. Ontario’s Canopy Growth fell as much as 19 percent to C$29.06 in Toronto, while Aphria Inc. plunged as much as 23 percent to C$16.59. ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, the first pure-play pot ETF to be listed in the U.S., dropped as much as 9.7 percent, the biggest intraday decline since May.

Fear and Doubt

Sessions’s policy may cause investors to think twice before putting their money into the Green Rush, according to Adrian Sedlin, founder of Canndescent, a marijuana cultivation and branded-flower company.

“Fear, uncertainty and doubt will rip through our industry like a California wildfire because of this,” he said. “Whatever happens longterm, this will retard and limit capital flows into the industry for the foreseeable future.”

The move is likely to sow confusion among consumers and state officials, and may spark a backlash if state-approved retailers are prosecuted. Sixty-four percent of the U.S. population now wants to make pot legal, according to a Gallup poll released in October.

But it’s too late to stop the industry from growing, said Laura Bianchi, a partner and director of cannabis, business and corporate transactions and estate planning at Rose Law Group in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“To undo this industry would be like closing Pandora’s box once it’s been opened,” she said. “It would be a Herculean effort that would undermine another Republican cornerstone, which is the importance of states’ rights.”

Senators React

Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, where marijuana is legal, said in a tweet that Sessions’s move contradicts what he told the senator before his confirmation.

“I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me,” Gardner said.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said Sessions’s actions are an affront to medical patients who need to use the plant as medicine. 

“Parents should be able to give their sick kids the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted,” she said in a statement. “This is about public health, and it’s about reforming our broken criminal justice system that throws too many minorities in prison for completely nonviolent offenses.”

Still, the federal policy change may not actually hurt business much at all. Entrepreneurs starting marijuana businesses have already been working under risky circumstances. The plant has remained federally illegal, meaning most large companies — including banks — have shied away. Instead, the business has relied on state regulators, many of whom previously said they would defend the industry through any federal crackdown. 

“We’re not overly concerned that a change in DOJ policy around cannabis will be meaningfully disruptive to legal adult use cannabis states, given the vocal support offered by these state-level AG’s,” said Vivien Azer, a Cowen & Co. analyst who covers the industry.

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    Donald Trump Just Called Himself ‘A Very Stable Genius’

    President Donald Trump hit back at critics who have questioned his mental stability by branding himself a “very stable genius” on Saturday morning.

    In a series of tweets, Trump said that throughout his life his “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” He also bragged about going from “VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star… to President of the United States (on my first try).”

    Trump’s comment about his mental stability appeared to reference reporters questioning the president’s “mental fitness” during a White House press briefing this week.

    Democratic lawmakers have also previously called for Trump to undergo a psychological evaluation, and Michael Wolff alleges in his new book, Fire and Fury, that White House aides openly question the president’s mental health.

    Trump is set to undergo a medical examination with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson next Friday, although it will likely focus more on his physical health. 

    Walter Shaub, who quit as head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in July, said the tweets themselves “might be enough to lead the board of any corporation to call an emergency meeting on its CEO’s mental status.” 

    Other Twitter users seemed like they couldn’t quite believe the posts:

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    Whats Its Like To Be An INFJ, In Other Words, A Living Paradox

    Mohammed Metri

    If you’re at all into learning more about personality types, you’ve probably run across descriptions of the INFJ before. INFJs are touted as the rarest personality type of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, but what does it actually mean to be an INFJ? INFJs are often labeled as “The Protector,” “The Empath,” “The Advocate” and “The Counselor.” This type stands for “Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judgment (J).” Although INFJs make up only 1-2% of the population, remember that you’re likely to “run into” an INFJ more often in creative communities (whether virtually or in real life) because that’s where they tend to congregate to share ideas.

    As someone who has consistently tested as INFJ since the age of eighteen and has interacted with more than a few INFJs in the mental health advocate community, I wanted to share some insights about this interesting personality type and how they work. Keep in mind that INFJs share a few of these traits with other like-minded personality types such as INTJ, ENFP, INFP and ENFJ, but the ways in which they manifest can vary by personality type. In an INFJ, these traits tend to be embodied in more extreme ways:

    1. They are complex but they have integrity.

    Like a living, breathing Walt Whitman cliché, INFJs contain multitudes. Developing a friendship or relationship with an INFJ is like slowly peeling away an onion. You think you know them, but you turn around and they’re revealing another facet of their personality that doesn’t seem to align with their more cookie-cutter image. You may see a scholarly and reserved INFJ get down on a dance floor with alarming ease, or a normally demure and quiet INFJ serve a savage clapback to someone who’s pissed them off. They can be both the class comedian and the highest achieving student. There isn’t a ‘box’ that contains their seemingly contradictory characteristics.

    This is because INFJs are duplicitous; in fact, they tend to be extremely genuine and authentic, veering on the edge of perhaps being at times (unless they’re a narcissist, in which case, can be). Rather, it’s because INFJs have many layers to their personality that sometimes even haven’t worked out! It can take years to get to know an INFJ; not because they’re deliberately hiding parts of themselves, but because they tend to take their time trusting people and revealing different facets of themselves along the way.

    2. Although they are natural loners, they tend to get mistaken for extroverts; they love people, adapt well to social situations and can be the life of the party.

    INFJs can be incredibly vivacious, humorous, fun-loving and energetic, especially with those they feel comfortable with. They definitely have a wild side which can shock those who stereotype them as button-down academics. However, just like any other introvert, they also need enormous amounts of time to recharge from being around others. Being alone for long periods of time is necessary for them to detox from social interactions and to reflect on their lives.

    INFJs love disappearing inward, exploring deep philosophical questions and inventing things. Even a simple walk in the neighborhood can turn into a full-on imaginative fantasy scenario for them; there’s nothing they love more than taking refuge in their own minds. They can spend days pondering hypothetical scenarios or coming up with ideas. INFJs have such rich inner lives that they can imagine new worlds and new methods in the blink of an eye; being creative comes easily to these types. They are also lovers of research and learning. Their intellectual complexity and imagination make them ideal candidates for careers that challenge them to create in some capacity or engage in innovation.

    3. They’re incredibly compassionate, but it’s wise not to mess with them.

    INFJs are often among the world’s changemakers. Famous INFJs are said to include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Oprah – you get the picture. Their compassion for others drives their need to help the world and save it. But sometimes, INFJs also bear a remarkable ability to save themselves from toxic situations.

    To put this ability into context, remember that INFJs are natural targets for toxic predators like malignant narcissists, who assume these sensitive types will succumb to their bullying behaviors. INFJs make up a large portion of survivor communities that are healing from violations like narcissistic abuse.

    Yet what predators forget is that INFJs appear to be lambs, but they’re really lions. They are extremely compassionate, but they will defend themselves and others fiercely when they feel that their rights are being violated. If you’ve read anything about an INFJ, you’ve probably heard of the infamous “INFJ Door Slam.” This is what happens when these normally warm, gentle individuals meet with someone who causes them to ‘flip their switch’ so to speak.

    The INFJ door slam is not a malignant trait; it’s a protective measure taken against chronic bullying and injustice.  It often occurs after numerous transgressions have already taken place (for example, when an INFJ meets someone who consistently talks down to them and treats them with contempt). In this type of scenario, the INFJ finally recognizes his or her worth and boundaries. They face emotional overwhelm and they need to retreat – stat. In a flash, you see them depart and probably never hear from them again. Or, if they’re in the mood, they’ll serve you with an epic manifesto of your wrongdoings before leaving forever (after all, they do tend to be excellent communicators!).

    Outwardly, INFJs may not be as overly bold and aggressive as other personality types, but when they bring the reckoning, they bring it with full force. You’ll never see an INFJ coming – and perhaps that’s a good thing, because they do tend to be on the front lines of massive social change.

    4. They are extremely loyal and devoted, but they don’t like authority.

    Don’t mess with the ones they love, either. INFJs hold a special place in their hearts for those they connect with and they will remember those who had their back during difficult times. That’s why, if they see someone being bullied or oppressed, especially someone they’ve bonded with, they will defend them with a righteous sense of devotion.

    INFJs make loyal dating partners, friends, spouses, employees and parents, and their loyalty extends to social change too. They are the harbingers of revolution and the defenders of the outcasts, the bully victims, and the outliers. It’s because they themselves know what it’s like to not belong, so they seek to create refuge and safety for those like them.

    However, the INFJ’s loyalty doesn’t extend to authority figures unless that authority figure is someone they admire and respect. Because they are naturally independent, strong-willed individuals with a high degree of intuition, they rely on their own sense of intuition to pave their path. They can sense when someone is working integrity, and it makes them viscerally sick. They can be stubborn and hard-nosed at times when it comes to bending to someone else’s will especially if it contradicts the strong moral values they hold dear.

    In many cases, especially in circumstances where there is oppression or injustice, this can be a good thing. INFJs are idealists who work to bring justice into the world and sometimes going against authority is the perfect way to do so. However, INFJs must also learn how to balance their faith in their inner authority with the ability to respect other perspectives. They could also benefit from letting themselves off the hook once in a while; their high standards of moral perfection are likely to falter under mental duress and human folly. While their intuition does bring them to great places, sometimes their way is not always the best way. The INFJ is still flawed and their high expectations of themselves and others could stand some reevaluation at times.

    5. They are both scientific and driven by emotion.

    The INFJ is an enigma in that he or she is not entirely driven by hard facts nor hot-headed emotion. They are a paradoxical package of both research and poetry, science and spirituality, intuition and statistics, art and dissertations. They are what I would call the “intellectual artists” of society, merging imagination and knowledge. Able to see the big picture as well as the finer details, they are motivated by a need to serve others while also cultivating the potential of every individual. They can reach masses of people with their message but they can also change individual lives because they know how to connect one-to-one. This is perhaps what also make them great researchers, counselors, scientists, writers and teachers. They flourish in fields where they can be both creative and logical, individualistic and people-focused.

    The magic is that while INFJs make for great orators and can inspire people with their words, they are also very practical and know how to bring about tangible results. Their mission always has a purpose of improving the state of society in some way. They practice what they preach and they help motivate people to live their best lives not just by words but by living example. When it comes to persuasive arguments, they’ll bring the receipts but they’ll also appeal to your pathos. Their ability to stir emotion in others and also appeal to their action-oriented side is what make them great leaders and catalysts for radical change.

    6. They are highly intuitive, but have a tendency not to trust themselves.

    A fully empowered INFJ is someone who can take one look at a situation, follow their instincts and say, “I just know.” For example, INFJs may know years ahead of time when the person their friend is dating is conniving, even when they present a false mask. They know how to read the energy of a room, even in a room full of people they’re meeting for the first time. They know when someone is putting on a front. They can sense the aggression beneath someone’s niceties. The INFJ’s uncanny intuition is something other more seemingly “rational” personality types might dismiss, but in many cases, they really and they turn out to be right.

    This is because an INFJ’s intuition can catch on quickly to the nuances of every situation. They can see through the facades of others and they can sense when someone is not being authentic. However, because they’ve been gaslighted for so long by a society that does not always appreciate their gifts and label them oversensitive, they’ve also learned to distrust their intuition and second-guess themselves, often. A challenge for the INFJ is re-learning how to fully trust in their inner voice while also leaving room for the constructive feedback of others.

    The Big Picture

    Being an INFJ is not easy, but INFJs can find a sense of community with others like them and those who appreciate their traits. Distancing oneself from toxic people and cultivating genuine relationships is key. When INFJs are supported and are able to grow in environments where their gifts are nurtured and seen, they can thrive and become incredibly revolutionary changemakers in society.

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