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Posted by Bobby Hankinson

Check out our weekly guide to TV this week, and make sure you’re catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won’t admit you watch when no one’s looking.

After several seasons of watching dance instructor Abby Lee Miller terrorize tap-dancing tots and their terrible mothers, the star of Dance Moms is set to report to prison — after her teary sitdown interview, of course. See what she has to say for herself Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on Lifetime.

If you thought last week’s Real Housewives of New York set the bar for wild group trips, this week’s installment from Mexico promises even more margarita-fueled madness. Find out if Ramona gets her comeuppance 9 p.m. Eastern Wednesday on Bravo.

One of TV’s most handsome men, openly-gay actor Matt Bomer is the face of Amazon’s latest ambitious period drama The Last Tycoon, premiering Friday. The story follows F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished final novel and also stars Kelsey Grammer and Lily Collins.

We are living in a golden age of supernatural teen soaps, and a lot of the credit can go to MTV’s Teen Wolf, a show much better than it needed to be. The final half of the final season kicks off Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern on MTV and has been a more consistent quality thrill ride than True Blood ever was. At least we’ll still have Riverdale.

Euron, the sexy pirate king of the Iron Islands, has quite the gift(s) for Queen Cersei on Game of Thrones, Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO. Catch up with our recap of last week’s episode here.

What are you watching this week on TV?

The post Say Goodbye to ‘Teen Wolf’ (and Abby Lee Miller), ‘The Last Tycoon’, RHONY, Plus More TV This Week appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Elton John Prince Harry

It’s been 20 years since Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris, and UK network ITV aired a documentary on Monday night marking this dark anniversary. In one moving scene from the documentary, Elton John explains to Prince Harry how his mother changed attitudes toward gay people and people with AIDS and destroyed stigma by being one of the first high-profile figures to touch someone with AIDS without wearing gloves.

“It was considered to be a gay disease. For someone who was within the Royal Family and who was a woman, and who was straight, to have someone care from the other side, was an incredible gift,” Elton explained.

Harry added, looking at photographs: “You look back to these days, when actually the reality was doom and gloom. Yet everybody in that photo is smiling.”

“Because of her,” said Elton. “Look at her face in every photograph. There’s a positive, wonderful glow. Also, she had that incredible ability — which [Harry] kind of inherited — to make people feel at ease and make them feel that everything’s gonna be all right. I haven’t experienced many people in my life who have that ability, but she could walk into a room of people and make them feel as if everything was great.”

Watch:

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Posted by Towleroad

Photo: Marianne Nyegaard

Marianne Nyegaard, a postdoctoral student at Australia’s Murdoch University, had been searching for evidence of a fourth ocean sunfish species for nearly five years. And in 2014, the researcher finally found the gigantic sunfish washed up on the shore in New Zealand, marking the first new sunfish species to be identified in 130 years. Nyegaard and…

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Posted by Alan Jude Ryland

The CW has released the first trailer for Freedom Fighters: The Ray, which will mark the first time a DC/CW series will feature an openly LGBTQ lead character.

CW Seed released an extended clip from Freedom Fighters: The Ray, as well as a synopsis for the upcoming show:

Raymond “Ray” Terrill was a reporter who discovered a group of government scientists working on a secret project to turn light into a weapon of mass destruction. But before he could report on his findings, the project head exposed Ray to a “genetic light bomb.” The bomb failed to kill him and instead gifted Ray with light-based powers. With these abilities, Ray realized he could go beyond reporting on injustice — he could take action to help stop it. Calling himself The Ray, he was recruited by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to fight violence and oppression wherever it exists.

The Ray‘s setting: Earth X, an alternate universe where the Nazis won World War II and have occupied the United States. The Ray is a member of the resistance, a team which includes DC superheroes Red Tornado, Black Condor, and Phantom Lady. But the Nazis aren’t the only enemy The Ray needs to worry about: The Germans have its own superhero fighters, and they’re evil versions of Supergirl, the Flash, and Green Arrow, the core superhero trio of the Arrowverse.

The series will make its debut on CW Seed as a digital first series. No official word yet, but there might be potential for the Ray to cross over into Arrow (or one of the other DCTV series.)

The post The CW’s Next Animated Series Stars a Gay Superhero Called ‘The Ray’ – WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

The International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), which describes itself as “a militant armed self-organized and horizontal collective working to defend social revolutions around the world, to directly confront capital and the state, and advance the cause of anarchism,” raised the LGBTQ Pride flag in Raqqa, Syria, according to a tweet posted on Monday.

Tweeted the group with a photo of group members holding up the rainbow flag and a flag of an assault rifle:

“These Faggots Kill Fascists! We shoot back! The Black & Pink and Rainbow flag fly in Raqqa. smashing the Caliphate.

Syrian forces and their allies recently recaptured territory from ISIS in areas close to Raqqa, Reuters reported on Sunday.

Here’s a video from earlier this year announcing the formation of the group:

 

The post Queer Members of Anarchist Group Raise Rainbow Flag in Syrian ISIS Stronghold appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Mo Brooks

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is running in Alabama’s special Senate election and uses audio and aftermath footage from the Congressional baseball practice shooting which injured Rep. Steve Scalise in a new campaign ad.

Brooks claims that he’s not using the shooting for political purposes.

Reports Politico:

Brooks said his ad does “absolutely not” leverage the shooting. The ad opens with sounds of shots and text describing the shooting and Brooks using his belt as a tourniquet. It then shows a clip of Brooks being interviewed by reporters on whether the shooting changed his views on gun control. “The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms is to ensure that we always have a republic, so no, I’m not changing my position on any of the rights that we enjoy as Americans,” Brooks says in the ad footage.

But Scalise’s chief of staff, Brett Horton, tweeted that the spot made his “stomach turn,” as Brooks faced criticism for politicizing a tragedy.

“I understand completely. It makes my stomach turn too. It reminds of a moment in my life I hope I never have to repeat,” Brooks said.

Watch:

The post Rep. Mo Brooks Uses Congressional Baseball Shooting Footage in Campaign Ad, Claims He Isn’t Politicizing Tragedy: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

My Friend Dahmer

Ross Lynch plays a young Jeffrey Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer, a film that depicts the teen years of the future serial killer, who murdered 17 men and boys in the midwest between 1978 and 1991.

Vincent Kartheiser (above) plays Dahmer’s doctor, Anne Heche  plays his mother, and Alex Wolff plays John “Derf” Backderf, who wrote a graphic novel upon which the film is based.

Wrote Rolling Stone:

While the real-life Jeffrey Dahmer went on to rape, murder and eat pieces from 17 male victims, you won’t see Lynch filleting human body parts anytime soon. By ending the story on the eve of Dahmer’s first kill, My Friend Dahmer seeks to explore an even scarier truth: How a troubled teenager who would later become the infamous serial murderer suppressed his desires and hid in plain sight. And Backderf thinks Lynch is perfect for the part.

Watch the trailer:

The post ‘My Friend Dahmer’ Examines the Teen Years of the Cannibal Serial Killer Who Murdered 17 Men and Boys: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 04:26 pm
meganbmoore: (hysteria)
[personal profile] meganbmoore posting in [community profile] fandom_icons
 139 x Galavant



@ my DW
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Posted by Andy Towle

trump oath18 DAYS. Trump plans August vacation in New Jersey. “Many are protesting – some even with graffiti, according to Bedminster resident Clarissa Arbeia – calling the president’s visit an added nuisance in the small suburban town.”

FRACKING. Trump may undo Obama fracking rule: “The proposal from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is due to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register. The landmark 2015 regulation set standards in areas such as disclosure of fracking chemicals and integrity of well casing. It was the Obama administration’s attempt to update decades-old regulations to account for the explosive growth in fracking for oil and natural gas in recent years.”

CLASSIC BULLY MOVE. Sean Spicer stole mini-fridge from junior research employees.

EYE ROLL OF THE DAY. Trump gets asked if Jeff Sessions should resign.

FUJIWHARA EFFECT. Tropical storms Hillary and Irwin to swirl together in Pacific. “This tango occurs when two storms get close enough for their circulations to interact, sending them pinwheeling around a fixed point between them somewhat like a meteorological version of a fidget spinner.”

TENNESSEE. Judge rules that gay couples have equal parental rights: ‘Four lesbian couples sued after the state passed a law that requires using the “natural and ordinary meaning” of words in state law. Gay rights groups said the requirement was a sneaky way to deny same-sex couples the legal rights and protections granted to a “husband,” a “wife,” a “father” or “mother.” The Tennessean reports that Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle’s ruling Friday dismissed the couples’ lawsuit, saying they didn’t prove their rights had been violated. The couples’ first child is not expected until September.

CHUCK SCHUMER. Feeding meat to the opposition?

JASON CHAFFETZ. When Dems bring up Donald Jr., Repubs should bring up Chelsea Clinton.

JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN. My Gay Agenda: “What I want above all, is the special right to be left alone, and to be considered half of just one more unextraordinary American couple — just as the two of us were as we sat at the bar watching the ocean and drinking our beers. You’d think that most of this would be common sense — that protecting American citizens from violence and unemployment and homelessness would be something we’d all agree upon. You’d think that respecting the privacy and humanity of some of the country’s most vulnerable souls would be a common goal.”

MALE MODEL MONDAY. Troy Walls. More here.

Instagram Photo

 

FERGUS BEELEY. Planet Earth producer has road rage meltdown on camera. “The extraordinary footage was caught by Simon Gale, 33, who was driving one of the cars involved in the incident. He claimed that Mr Beeley became enraged when a car from the inside lane attempted to pull into the middle lane and crashed with his family’s car. He also claims that Beeley grabbed hold of him around the throat and “raised his fist in a threatening manner”, and attempted to push his mother-in-law towards oncoming traffic.”

SAM HEUGHAN. Shirtless workout photos!

ADAM SCHIFF. Senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee fires back at Trump tweet calling him “sleazy” and “biased”.

ATTACK AD. GOP Super PAC launches ad painting Dems as “radical extremists who destroy buildings, burn cars and divide America. Hollywood celebrities who are blinded by their hatred of the president.”

WHAT ABOUT US. Pink prepares a comeback single.

Instagram Photo

 

NETFLIX TEASER OF THE DAY. Stranger Things Season 2:

PROMO OF THE DAY. The Rock gets together with Siri in mini-movie.

MONDAY MUSCLE. Cristiano Ronaldo and friend Jose Semedo.

Instagram Photo

 

Instagram Photo

The post Fracking, Adam Schiff, The Rock, Fujiwhara Effect, Pink, Fergus Beeley, Jason Chaffetz, Stranger Things: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Towleroad

casa vacanza ciufo

Rome (dpa) – A male couple was turned away from a holiday home in southern Italy because of the owner’s ‘no gays or animals’ admission policy, triggering Monday calls for tighter anti-discrimination rules in the hotel industry. “Important, and I am sorry if I may come across as a caveman. We do not accepts gays and…

The post ‘No Gays and Animals:’ Italian Guest House Turns Away Male Couple appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Frank Ocean Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt appeared in Frank Ocean’s live show at FYF Fest in Los Angeles over the weekend. Pitt was shown on a big screen holding a phone to his ear as Ocean serenaded him with a silky cover of the Carpenters’ “Close to You” and the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye”.

The Guardian reports:

The performance at FYF Fest in Los Angeles was reportedly filmed by Her and Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze; he was also spotted filming Ocean’s performance at Lovebox festival in London, though no project has been officially announced.

Pitt is on record as a Frank Ocean fan. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Ocean. I find this young man so special,” he told GQ. “Talk about getting to the raw truth. He’s painfully honest. He’s very, very special.” Ocean returned the compliment by wearing a Brad Pitt T-shirt for his gig at Parklife festival in Manchester earlier this year.

Watch the performance:

The post Frank Ocean Serenaded Brad Pitt with a Cover of ‘Close to You’ and ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ — WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Jared Kushner

Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke to reporters following an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, echoing remarks he made in a statement that prefaced the hearing.

Said Kushner:

“I have not sought the spotlight…The record and documents I have voluntarily provide will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign. Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did so. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses. And I have been fully transparent.”

Kushner added:

“Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign. And that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.”

Watch:

The post Jared Kushner Speaks Following Senate Intel Committee Hearing: ‘I Did Not Collude with Russians’ — WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

British diver and Olympian Tom Daley took home his first individual World Championship gold medal in  the 10 meter platform final at the World Aquatics Championship in Budapest over the weekend.

The BBC reports:

Daley, eliminated in the semi-finals of the same event at the Rio Olympics last year, dominated the final throughout. The 23-year-old won with a score of 590.95, ahead of Olympic champion Chen Aisen of China (585.25). Fellow Briton Matty Lee finished 12th.

Earlier, Daley won silver alongside Grace Reid in the mixed 3m springboard. The pair totalled 308.04 for their five routines with China (323.70) winning gold and Canada (297.72) taking the bronze medal.

Daley told the BBC: “I saw Chen do his dive and all the Chinese divers cheer, so I thought ‘Watch this one. You do that, I’m going to do it better’. I went into this weird competitive mode that I’ve never even been in before.”

 

Daley today shared a personal vlog of the experience, saying, “What I can only describe as one of the most insane experiences of my life…I can’t actually believe that I am world champion…After last year’s complete disappointment with not making the Olympic final and how it left me in such a hole…I’m very very happy right now with the say everything’s gone.”

Daley is soon to embark on his honeymoon with husband Dustin Lance Black.

Congrats to Tom on his big win!

Watch Daley’s winning dive and his reflections on it:

The post Tom Daley Celebrates Weekend Gold Medal: ‘I am the World Champion’ — WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Rex Tillerson is mulling a departure from the Trump administration because of Trump’s “unprofessional” behavior and other differences in opinion, according to several sources who spoke with CNN:

Among those who viewed the President’s public rebuke of Sessions as unprofessional, according to several sources, is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon-Mobil CEO. Tillerson has a growing list of differences with the White House, including a new debate over Iran policy and personnel. His frustration is hardly a secret and it has spilled out publicly at times. But friends sense a change of late.

For weeks, conversations with Tillerson friends outside of Washington have left the impression that he, despite his frustrations, was determined to stay on the job at least through the end of the year. That would allow time to continue efforts to reorganize the State Department and would mean he could claim to have put in a year as America’s top diplomat. But two sources who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity over the weekend said they would not be surprised if there was a “Rexit” from Foggy Bottom sooner that that.

The sources observed a “noticeable increase in the secretary’s frustration” and don’t see it ending any time soon.

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Posted by Michael Fitzgerald

Justine_Greening_June_2015

Under a series of equality reforms, gay men in England and Scotland will be allowed to donate blood three months after having sex. The reform also applies to sex workers. Previous rules prevented gay men from donating blood for one year after they last had sex.

Advances in testing for blood-borne viruses prompted the advisory committee on the safety of blood donations to recommend the reforms to the government.

According to the Guardian, the rule change will be implemented from November in Scotland and early 2018 in England.

RELATED: Britain Considering Reducing Gay Blood Donor Deferral Period from 12 to 3 Months

Education and Equalities Secretary Justine Greening (above) said:

“This government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality, and today we’re taking the next step forward.

“We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them.”

Welcoming the announcement, Ethan Spibey, founder of FreedomToDonate, added:

“Today’s announcement from the government marks a world-leading blood donation policy for gay and bisexual men and the other groups previously restricted. I’m so proud that the work of FreedomToDonate and our supporters will help ensure more people than ever before are allowed to safely donate blood.

“I began this campaign because I wanted to repay the donor who saved my granddad’s life after a major operation, and this announcement means I’m closer than ever to doing that, with the invaluable help of our team of volunteers, and the charities and organisations FreedomToDonate represents.”

Equality reforms will also make it easier for transgender people to choose their legal sex.

Suzanna Hopwood, a member of Stonewall’s transgender advisory group, said:

“Reform is one of the key priorities in our vision for removing the huge inequalities that trans people face in the UK. The current system is demeaning and broken. It’s vital that this reform removes the requirements for medical evidence and an intrusive interview panel, and finally allows all trans people to have their gender legally recognised through a simple administrative process. That’s what we’ll be calling for during this consultation, and I’m looking forward to seeing the law change soon after.”

(Image via Wikipedia)

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Posted by Andy Towle

Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump is considering replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and has floated the idea of bringing in Rudy Giuliani, according to Axios:

“In internal conversations, Trump has recently pondered the idea of nominating Giuliani, a stalwart of his campaign….Even before last week’s blast at Sessions in a New York Times interview, Trump had expressed fury at Sessions — also one of the first prominent Republicans to back the Trump campaign — for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.”

Trump also described Sessions as “beleaguered” in a Monday morning tweet.

Axios properly notes that Giuliani might have a difficult time getting confirmed given his staunch support for Trump during the campaign: “He was such an early and ardent Trump backer that he wouldn’t be seen as an independent guardian of the department in these tumultuous times.”

The post Trump Considering Rudy Giuliani to Replace ‘Beleaguered’ Jeff Sessions as Attorney General: REPORT appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Ezra Miller

Actor Ezra Miller was attending San Diego Comic Con to promote the upcoming Justice League movie, in which he plays The Flash (check out the 4-minute preview trailer HERE).

RELATED: Actor Ezra Miller: ‘I’m Queer’

Miller got swept up in a group of fans on Saturday night in San Diego, and claimed he wasn’t drunk, though his reaction to one fan’s request to smell his breath suggests that something was making him feel a bit loose.

Watch:

The post Ezra Miller Surprises Fan with Full-On Kiss at Comic Con: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Bobby Hankinson

Game of Thrones

It’s insane how much development Game of Thrones crammed into last night’s workhorse of an episode. Allegiances and motivations were mostly laid bare, and characters were forced to confront what the choices they’ve made in the past mean for them now that the game is changing so quickly.

After an episode heavy on chatting through what side folks are landing on in the coming war, the first real blows were dealt. Which side is taking an early lead in the battle for the Iron Throne?

Let’s discuss in our recap, below!

Game of Thrones

Meanwhile, at Dragonstone …

It was a dark and stormy night, much like this one, when Daenerys was born, or so she’s reminded by Varys and Tyrion as they review strategy. Of course, Daenerys is less interested in the past than she is in the future, growing more and more anxious by the day to shove Cersei off that Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms. She’s got an army, she’s got dragons, what’s the hold up?

Tyrion mansplains that if she takes the city by force, all that will be left to rule will be ashes. It’s a good point, but not a very satisfying answer for the Dragon Queen. Next, she turns her attention to Varys, a schemer of the highest order. Why should she trust the Spider after all the conspiring he’s led against his former rulers? After all, wasn’t he the one caught up in a plan to get her murdered?

Now, to be fair, Varys reminds her, he barely even knew her when he tried to have her murdered, so, like, let’s let bygones be bygones. Dany, however, isn’t convinced. She demands loyalty. Varys can’t promise that, but he promises to be honest. Honest loyalty, if you will.

Unlike Littlefinger, whom we’ll get to shortly, Varys’ meddling is guided by his values. He wasn’t from a rich house, he grew up with nothing. He works for the people. He turned on rulers when they lost their way. He’s backing Dany now because he believes she is the best for the people. Khaleesi is satisfied with this answer, but she asks that if she does stray from what the people needs, he tells her to her face instead of plotting to kill her behind her back. Deal.

Then Varys rushes away to put all this in a memo in case he needs to testify about it later.

Of course, there’s a knock on the door. A caller at this hour? Whomever could it be? It’s Melisandre, in her full drags, looking like her enchanted, easy, breezy, beautiful self. Despite having boinked Stannis in this very castle, Dany gives her an audience since e’erybody’s already getting pardoned tonight.

The most important part of their conversation lies in a little translation error in the great prophecy about the “prince” that’s been promised may not be a prince at all. Missandei helpfully tells them that the High Valyrian word used is gender-neutral, so really it’s the “prince or princess” that’s been promised. Could Dany be Azor Ahai? Maybe! But it seems Melisandre has learned her lesson about taking all this too literally. Dany has a role to play, Mel says, but so does Jon Snow.

“Hey, I know that guy!” Tyrion chimes in. Regardless of Melisandre’s hocus pocus, having an ally in the North would be beneficial. Dany sends him a raven asking him to pay a visit, and to bend the knee.

Game of Thrones

Later, Dany gathers Olenna, Ellaria, Yara and others to strategize. The plan is for the Unsullied to take the Lannister’s home, Casterly Rock, while the Tyrell and Dornish armies surround King’s Landing and starve everybody out. Yara and her fleet will escort Ellaria and her Sand Snakes to pick up the army and bring them back. Go team!

The room clears, save for Dany and Olenna. The elder Tyrell warns Dany about trusting Tyrion — or any man, for that matter — over her own instincts. Olenna has known many clever men like Tyrion, and she’s outlived them all by ignoring them. People need to fear her, not love her. People loved Margaery, and it didn’t help her a bit. Dany isn’t a sheep, she’s a dragon. She needs to act like one.

As everyone readies for battle, once again Greyworm and Missandei need to reckon with the fact they may never see each other again. Greyworm confesses that he has a hard time opening up to people because the Unsullied are trained not to have weaknesses. “But I can fix him!” Missandei seemingly screams. So, she undoes her dress, takes off his clothes and serves him her, uh, hot pocket? (Next month in Teen Vogue: How To Please Your Man, Even If He’s Castrated)

Game of Thrones

Meanwhile, at Winterfell …

Jon receives the message from Dragonstone. He trusts Tyrion dating back to their trip to the Wall, and even Sansa speaks highly of him from her otherwise awful time at King’s Landing. Still, a Targaryen arriving with dragons to take Westeros isn’t the most soothing thought. Sansa fears it’s too dangerous for Jon to make the trip. However, the decision appears to be made once Sam’s message arrives telling them about all that Dragonglass at Dragonstone. (As an aside: How did Dany’s message get there before Sam’s? Are there express ravens? Next-day ravens from Amazon Prime?)

Anyway, despite some pushback from the other lords of the North, Jon tells everyone he’s going. Dragonstone has Dragonglass, which kills White Walkers; as does fire, which Dany’s dragons could certainly provide. In the interim, Sansa is in charge. This will go well, I’m sure.

Before he rides off with Ser Davos, Littlefinger sidles up to Snow in the crypt. He confesses his love for Sansa, which is gross, and also, like, what sort of reaction is he expecting? Does he think Jon is going to bless their union? Nah, brah. Jon reacts like any cliché older brother and threatens to kill Littlefinger if he tries anything. Sure, sure. Again, this will go well while you’re gone, I’m sure.

Game of Thrones

Meanwhile, at the Citadel …

The Citadel scenes are turning into straight-up episodes of Grey’s Anatomy now. The archmaester is Bailey, Sam is Kepner and the medical oddity of the week is Jorah. Turns out, Jorah has plenty of time to live with greyscale. The archmaester gives him a relatively positive prognosis of 10-20 years, but unfortunately he’ll lose his mind in about six months.

It’s not until this point that Sam learns Jorah’s identity, realizing that he knew Jorah’s father from his time in the Night’s Watch. That changes everything.

Instead of Kepner, Sam goes full Izzy, attempting a risky procedure the archmaester had already told him was forbidden. Sam shows up in Jorah’s cell with a bunch of rum and surgical instruments, and he begins hacking off the greyscale amidst so much blood and pus and muffled screaming.

Game of Thrones

Meanwhile, in the Riverlands …

Arya is sitting down for a hot pie when who else but Hot Pie shows up. He gives her a little recap on what she’s missed while she was away training to be an assassin and ripping off faces. She had no idea that the Boltons were no more and Jon Snow was ruling Winterfell. You can see a glimmer of the old Arya flicker in her eyes. Now, she has a choice: Continue on her path of vengeance or go home.

Outside, she mounts her horse and turns in the opposite direction from the men riding to King’s Landing. Her choice, it seems, has been made.

On the way, she stops to build a fire, and she’s beset by wolves. Not just wolves, though. It’s a pack of wolves led by her direwolf, Nymeria! The reunion we’ve been waiting for is finally here, but it doesn’t play out exactly how you’d expect. Nymeria doesn’t immediately start licking Arya’s face or anything like that. While Nym does eventually drop the snarling, she turns away with her pack, leaving Arya … for now.

When she does, Arya looks after her and mutters, “That’s not you.” It’s a beautiful scene that Maisie Williams plays perfectly. It’s Arya confronting the cost of her adventuring around, the price of leaving her past behind, the childhood she missed out on. That WAS indeed Nymeria, but is this or is this not Arya?

Now that she’s heading North (presumably still), I imagine she’s on a collision course with the Hound, Beric and Thoros, all names on her kill list. The Hound has changed and so has she. Will Arya stay true to her quest for vengeance, or will she see the softer side of Sandor Clegane? Have the Hound and Arya switched roles since the last time they were together? I don’t know! But I do feel like this is the most satisfying Arya’s story has felt in a while.

Game of Thrones

Meanwhile, at King’s Landing …

Cersei is gathering the lords that are loyal to the Tyrells, including Sam’s dad. She makes the pitch that Olenna is cuckoo for serving a Targaryen that wants to encourage a bunch of bad Dothraki hombres over their borders to take their Westerosi jobs. Nevermind the fact that Cersei set off a giant wildfire explosion in the center of King’s Landing, because, um, her emails?

They ask how Cersei plans on beating the dragons, to which Qyburn chimes in “I’m right on top of that, Rose!”

Jaime follows Sam’s dad (and hot brother) out and makes a plea to help them beat Dany. In exchange, they’ll make Lord Tarley Warden of the South. Still, Tarley has known Olenna his whole life, that’s too serious a bond to break.

Elsewhere, Qyburn escorts Cersei down to the collection of giant dragon skulls from the last battle with the Targaryens. The solution he’s come up with to fight this onslaught of fire-breathing monsters? A giant crossbow. Not as flashy as wildfire, but it does seem effective with the right eagle-eyed archer at the trigger.

Game of Thrones

Meanwhile, at sea …

Yara and Ellaria are making Theon uncomfortable with some heavy flirting and heavier petting when there’s a crash. Surprise! Uncle Euron’s here!

Euron’s men lay siege to Yara’s fleet, burning ships down and boarding their boat in the most spectacular fashion. Euron gleefully tears through men as blood splatters. He even manages to kill two of three Sand Snakes (conveniently the two that are not Ellaria’s blood). Ellaria and her daughter Tyene are taken, which would make a most excellent engagement gift for Cersei to get her revenge for the murder of Myrcella.

Above deck, Yara and Theon are fighting for their lives. After a hard fought fight, Euron has Yara, daring Theon to save her. Too bad Theon isn’t here anymore, it’s just Reek. Poor, cowardly Reek leaps into the sea to save himself, leaving Yara to sail back a prisoner along with Ellaria and Tyene.

Next week: Finally, Snow meets Stormborn!

What did you think of this week’s episode?

The post Meanwhile, In Westeros: Pies, Pus and Pirates On ‘Game of Thrones’ [RECAP] appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Towleroad

TRENTON — Transgendered students at New Jersey’s public schools were given new layers of protection under a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law Friday. The legislation (S3067/A4652) — which takes effect immediately — charges the state commissioner of education with creating specific guidelines to help schools address “the needs” of transgender students and establish…

The post N.J. Transgender Students Now Have More Protections After Christie Enacts New Law appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Towleroad

shirtless Chris Hemsworth

Debuting at San Diego Comic Con over the weekend, the Thor: Ragnarok trailer picks up where the last teaser ended, with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor in an arena battling Incredible Hulk.

The trailer went over well.

Writes Variety:

“Loki’s allegiance has always been slightly unpredictable, and he’s still the God of mischief,” Hiddleston said during Marvel’s panel where the footage was unveiled. The trailer shows Loki in chains before eventually teaming up with Chris Hemsworth’s titular character.

If not Loki’s allegiance, the most exciting aspect of the trailer might come courtesy of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, who speaks.

“We have a speaking Hulk,” Ruffalo said during the panel, and described his character as having the “vocabulary of a two-year-old.”

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” helmer Taika Waititi directed the third standalone Thor movie, which seems to be quirkier and more offbeat than the first two, and is already drawing comparisons to “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “Ragnarok” also stars Idris Elba, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, and Anthony Hopkins.

Watch:

The post Shirtless Chris Hemsworth Returns to Out-Hulk Everyone and Deliver Comic Quips in the ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Trailer: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Jared Kushner’s business transactions certainly involved plenty of contact with Russia as evidenced by this new report from The Guardian revealing he bought property from a Russian tycoon involved in a high profile money laundering case being reviewed by Congress.

The Guardian reports:

A Guardian investigation has established a series of overlapping ties and relationships involving alleged Russian money laundering, New York real estate deals and members of Trump’s inner circle. They include a 2015 sale of part of the old New York Times building in Manhattan involving Kushner and a billionaire real estate tycoon and diamond mogul, Lev Leviev.

The ties between Trump family real estate deals and Russian money interests are attracting growing interest from the justice department’s special counsel, Robert Mueller, as he seeks to determine whether the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia to distort the outcome of the 2016 race. Mueller has reportedly expanded his inquiry to look at real estate deals involving the Trump Organization, as well as Kushner’s financing…

…Leviev, a global tycoon known as the “king of diamonds”, was a business partner of the Russian-owned company Prevezon Holdings that was at the center of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit launched in New York. Under the leadership of US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump in March, prosecutors pursued Prevezon for allegedly attempting to use Manhattan real estate deals to launder money stolen from the Russian treasury.

The scam had been uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant who died in 2009 in a Moscow jail in suspicious circumstances. US sanctions against Russia imposed after Magnitsky’s death were a central topic of conversation at the notorious Trump Tower meeting last June between Kushner, Donald Trump Jr, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.

The post Jared Kushner Bought NYC Real Estate from Russian Tycoon Involved in Money Laundering Case Under Congressional Probe appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter Monday morning as his son-in-law released a lengthy statement prefacing his testimony to a Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.

Trump continued his attempts to shift blame and focus and delegitimize credible news organization, tweeting: “Drain the Swamp should be changed to Drain the Sewer – it’s actually much worse than anyone ever thought, and it begins with the Fake News! … After 1 year of investigation with Zero evidence being found, Chuck Schumer just stated that “Democrats should blame ourselves, not Russia. … So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?

The post Trump Wake-and-Tweet Tantrum Targets ‘Sewer’ of ‘Fake News’, Chuck Schumer, Hillary, and His ‘Beleaguered A.G.’ appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner released an 11-page statement ahead of a scheduled appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

Said Kushner in the statement, in part:

I am voluntarily providing this statement, submitting documents, and sitting for interviews in order to shed light on issues that have been raised about my role in the Trump for President Campaign and during the transition period.

I am not a person who has sought the spotlight. First in my business and now in public service, I have worked on achieving goals, and have left it to others to work on media and public perception. Because there has been a great deal of conjecture, speculation, and inaccurate information about me, I am grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight….

….It has been my practice not to appear in the media or leak information in my own defense. I have tried to focus on the important work at hand and serve this President and this country to the best of my abilities. I hope that through my answers to questions, written statements and documents I have now been able to demonstrate the entirety of my limited contacts with Russian representatives during the campaign and transition. I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required. Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest.

NBC News reports:

Kushner will not be under oath during his appearance at the committee and the session will not be in public.

The interview will be in a special area used for classified briefings and meetings called a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF. The SCIF is on the second floor of the Hart Senate Office Building, the same place where the Intelligence Committee has held recent interviews with James Clapper, Denis McDonough and Susan Rice.

Democrats have pointed out that those appearing behind closed doors could allow the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser to avoid directly answering questions about his alleged links to Russia. Others have said the closed setting might allow Kushner the opportunity to discuss sensitive information.

Former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. are scheduled to be interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee next week but it will not be public either.

Read Kushner’s full statement:

STATEMENT OF JARED C. KUSHNER TO CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES

July 24, 2017

I am voluntarily providing this statement, submitting documents, and sitting for interviews in order to shed light on issues that have been raised about my role in the Trump for President Campaign and during the transition period.

I am not a person who has sought the spotlight. First in my business and now in public service, I have worked on achieving goals, and have left it to others to work on media and public perception. Because there has been a great deal of conjecture, speculation, and inaccurate information about me, I am grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight.

My Role in the Trump for President Campaign

Before joining the administration, I worked in the private sector, building and managing companies. My experience was in business, not politics, and it was not my initial intent to play a large role in my father-in-law’s campaign when he decided to run for President. However, as the campaign progressed, I was called on to assist with various tasks and aspects of the campaign, and took on more and more responsibility.

Over the course of the primaries and general election campaign, my role continued to evolve. I ultimately worked with the finance, scheduling, communications, speechwriting, polling, data and digital teams, as well as becoming a point of contact for foreign government officials.

All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously. When I was faced with a new challenge, I would reach out to contacts, ask advice, find the right person to manage the specific challenge, and work with that person to develop and execute a plan of action. I was lucky to work with some incredibly talented people along the way, all of whom made significant contributions toward the campaign’s ultimate success. Our nimble culture allowed us to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances and make changes on the fly as the situation warranted. I share this information because these actions should be viewed through the lens of a fast-paced campaign with thousands of meetings and interactions, some of which were impactful and memorable and many of which were not.

It is also important to note that a campaign’s success starts with its message and its messenger. Donald Trump had the right vision for America and delivered his message perfectly. The results speak for themselves. Not only did President Trump defeat sixteen skilled and experienced primary opponents and win the presidency; he did so spending a fraction of what his opponent spent in the general election. He outworked his opponent and ran one of the best campaigns in history using both modern technology and traditional methods to bring his message to the American people.

Campaign Contacts with Foreign Persons

When it became apparent that my father-in-law was going to be the Republican nominee for President, as normally happens, a number of officials from foreign countries attempted to reach out to the campaign. My father-in-law asked me to be a point of contact with these foreign countries. These were not contacts that I initiated, but, over the course of the campaign, I had incoming contacts with people from approximately 15 countries. To put these requests in context, I must have received thousands of calls, letters and emails from people looking to talk or meet on a variety of issues and topics, including hundreds from outside the United States. While I could not be responsive to everyone, I tried to be respectful of any foreign government contacts with whom it would be important to maintain an ongoing, productive working relationship were the candidate to prevail. To that end, I called on a variety of people with deep experience, such as Dr. Henry Kissinger, for advice on policy for the candidate, which countries/representatives with which the campaign should engage, and what messaging would resonate. In addition, it was typical for me to receive 200 or more emails a day during the campaign. I did not have the time to read every one, especially long emails from unknown senders or email chains to which I was added at some later point in the exchange.

With respect to my contacts with Russia or Russian representatives during the campaign, there were hardly any. The first that I can recall was at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. in April 2016. This was when then candidate Trump was delivering a major foreign policy speech. Doing the event and speech had been my idea, and I oversaw its execution. I arrived at the hotel early to make sure all logistics were in order. After that, I stopped into the reception to thank the host of the event, Dimitri Simes, the publisher of the bi-monthly foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, who had done a great job putting everything together. Mr. Simes and his group had created the guest list and extended the invitations for the event. He introduced me to several guests, among them four ambassadors, including Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. With all the ambassadors, including Mr. Kislyak, we shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries and I thanked them for attending the event and said I hoped they would like candidate Trump’s speech and his ideas for a fresh approach to America’s foreign policy. The ambassadors also expressed interest in creating a positive relationship should we win the election. Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions.

Reuters news service has reported that I had two calls with Ambassador Kislyak at some time between April and November of 2016. While I participated in thousands of calls during this period, I do not recall any such calls with the Russian Ambassador. We have reviewed the phone records available to us and have not been able to identify any calls to any number we know to be associated with Ambassador Kislyak and I am highly skeptical these calls took place. A comprehensive review of my land line and cell phone records from the time does not reveal those calls. I had no ongoing relationship with the Ambassador before the election, and had limited knowledge about him then. In fact, on November 9, the day after the election, I could not even remember the name of the Russian Ambassador. When the campaign received an email purporting to be an official note of congratulations from President Putin, I was asked how we could verify it was real. To do so I thought the best way would be to ask the only contact I recalled meeting from the Russian government, which was the Ambassador I had met months earlier, so I sent an email asking Mr. Simes, “What is the name of the Russian ambassador?” Through my lawyer, I have asked Reuters to provide the dates on which the calls supposedly occurred or the phone number at which I supposedly reached, or was reached by, Ambassador Kislyak. The journalist refused to provide any corroborating evidence that they occurred.

The only other Russian contact during the campaign is one I did not recall at all until I was reviewing documents and emails in response to congressional requests for information. In June 2016, my brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. asked if I was free to stop by a meeting on June 9 at 3:00 p.m. The campaign was headquartered in the same building as his office in Trump Tower, and it was common for each of us to swing by the other’s meetings when requested. He eventually sent me his own email changing the time of the meeting to 4:00 p.m. That email was on top of a long back and forth that I did not read at the time. As I did with most emails when I was working remotely, I quickly reviewed on my iPhone the relevant message that the meeting would occur at 4:00 PM at his office. Documents confirm my memory that this was calendared as “Meeting: Don Jr.| Jared Kushner.” No one else was mentioned.

I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting. Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.” I had not met the attorney before the meeting nor spoken with her since. I thought nothing more of this short meeting until it came to my attention recently. I did not read or recall this email exchange before it was shown to me by my lawyers when reviewing documents for submission to the committees. No part of the meeting I attended included anything about the campaign, there was no follow up to the meeting that I am aware of, I do not recall how many people were there (or their names), and I have no knowledge of any documents being offered or accepted. Finally, after seeing the email, I disclosed this meeting prior to it being reported in the press on a supplement to my security clearance form, even if that was not required as meeting the definitions of the form.

There was one more possible contact that I will note. On October 30, 2016, I received a random email from the screenname “Guccifer400.” This email, which I interpreted as a hoax, was an extortion attempt and threatened to reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in exchange for not publishing that information. I brought the email to the attention of a U.S. Secret Service agent on the plane we were all travelling on and asked what he thought. He advised me to ignore it and not to reply — which is what I did. The sender never contacted me again.

To the best of my recollection, these were the full extent of contacts I had during the campaign with persons who were or appeared to potentially be representatives of the Russian government.

Transition Contacts with Foreign Persons

The transition period after the election was even more active than the campaign. Starting on election night, we began to receive an incredible volume of messages and invitations from well-wishers in the United States and abroad. Dozens of messages came from foreign officials seeking to set up foreign leader calls and create lines of communication and relationships with what would be the new administration. During this period, I recall having over fifty contacts with people from over fifteen countries. Two of those meetings were with Russians, neither of which I solicited.

On November 16, 2016, my assistant received a request for a meeting from the Russian Ambassador. As I mentioned before, previous to receiving this request, I could not even recall the Russian Ambassador’s name, and had to ask for the name of the individual I had seen at the Mayflower Hotel almost seven months earlier. In addition, far from being urgent, that meeting was not set up for two weeks — on December 1. The meeting occurred in Trump Tower, where we had our transition office, and lasted twenty- thirty minutes. Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret.), who became the President’s National Security Advisor, also attended. During the meeting, after pleasantries were exchanged, as I had done in many of the meetings I had and would have with foreign officials, I stated our desire for a fresh start in relations. Also, as I had done in other meetings with foreign officials, I asked Ambassador Kislyak if he would identify the best person (whether the Ambassador or someone else) with whom to have direct discussions and who had contact with his President. The fact that I was asking about ways to start a dialogue after Election Day should of course be viewed as strong evidence that I was not aware of one that existed before Election Day.

The Ambassador expressed similar sentiments about relations, and then said he especially wanted to address U.S. policy in Syria, and that he wanted to convey information from what he called his “generals.” He said he wanted to provide information that would help inform the new administration. He said the generals could not easily come to the U.S. to convey this information and he asked if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation. General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines. I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn. The Ambassador said that would not be possible and so we all agreed that we would receive this information after the Inauguration. Nothing else occurred. I did not suggest a “secret back channel.” I did not suggest an on-going secret form of communication for then or for when the administration took office. I did not raise the possibility of using the embassy or any other Russian facility for any purpose other than this one possible conversation in the transition period. We did not discuss sanctions.

Approximately a week later, on December 6, the Embassy asked if I could meet with the Ambassador on December 7. I declined. They then asked if I could meet on December 6; I declined again. They then asked when the earliest was that I could meet. I declined these requests because I was working on many other responsibilities for the transition. He asked if he could meet my assistant instead and, to avoid offending the Ambassador, I agreed. He did so on December 12. My assistant reported that the Ambassador had requested that I meet with a person named Sergey Gorkov who he said was a banker and someone with a direct line to the Russian President who could give insight into how Putin was viewing the new administration and best ways to work together. I agreed to meet Mr. Gorkov because the Ambassador has been so insistent, said he had a direct relationship with the President, and because Mr. Gorkov was only in New York for a couple days. I made room on my schedule for the meeting that occurred the next day, on December 13.

The meeting with Mr. Gorkov lasted twenty to twenty-five minutes. He introduced himself and gave me two gifts — one was a piece of art from Nvgorod, the village where my grandparents were from in Belarus, and the other was a bag of dirt from that same village. (Any notion that I tried to conceal this meeting or that I took it thinking it was in my capacity as a businessman is false. In fact, I gave my assistant these gifts to formally register them with the transition office). After that, he told me a little about his bank and made some statements about the Russian economy. He said that he was friendly with President Putin, expressed disappointment with U.S.-Russia relations under President Obama and hopes for a better relationship in the future. As I did at the meeting with Ambassador Kislyak, I expressed the same sentiments I had with other foreign officials I met. There were no specific policies discussed. We had no discussion about the sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration. At no time was there any discussion about my companies, business transactions, real estate projects, loans, banking arrangements or any private business of any kind. At the end of the short meeting, we thanked each other and I went on to other meetings. I did not know or have any contact with Mr. Gorkov before that meeting, and I have had no reason to connect with him since.

To the best of my recollection, these were the only two contacts I had during the transition with persons who were or appeared to potentially be representatives of the Russian government.

Disclosure of Contacts on My Security Clearance Form

There has been a good deal of misinformation reported about my SF-86 form. As my attorneys and I have previously explained, my SF-86 application was prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not list any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government officials. Here are some facts about that form and the efforts I have made to supplement it.

In the week before the Inauguration, amid the scramble of finalizing the unwinding of my involvement from my company, moving my family to Washington, completing the paper work to divest assets and resign from my outside positions and complete my security and financial disclosure forms, people at my New York office were helping me find the information, organize it, review it and put it into the electronic form. They sent an email to my assistant in Washington, communicating that the changes to one particular section were complete; my assistant interpreted that message as meaning that the entire form was completed. At that point, the form was a rough draft and still had many omissions including not listing any foreign government contacts and even omitted the address of my father-in-law (which was obviously well known). Because of this miscommunication, my assistant submitted the draft on January 18, 2017.

That evening, when we realized the form had been submitted prematurely, we informed the transition team that we needed to make changes and additions to the form. The very next day, January 19, 2017, we submitted supplemental information to the transition, which confirmed receipt and said they would immediately transmit it to the FBI. The supplement disclosed that I had “numerous contacts with foreign officials” and that we were going through my records to provide an accurate and complete list. I provided a list of those contacts in the normal course, before my background investigation interview and prior to any inquiries or media reports about my form.

It has been reported that my submission omitted only contacts with Russians. That is not the case. In the accidental early submission of the form, all foreign contacts were omitted. The supplemental information later disclosed over one hundred contacts from more than twenty countries that might be responsive to the questions on the form. These included meetings with individuals such as Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray Caso and many more. All of these had been left off before.

Over the last six months, I have made every effort to provide the FBI with whatever information is needed to investigate my background. In addition, my attorneys have explained that the security clearance process is one in which supplements are expected and invited. The form itself instructs that, during the interview, the information in the document can be “update[d], clarif[ied], and explain[ed]” as part of the security clearance process. A good example is the June 9 meeting. For reasons that should be clear from the explanation of that meeting I have provided, I did not remember the meeting and certainly did not remember it as one with anyone who had to be included on an SF-86. When documents reviewed for production in connection with committee requests reminded me that meeting had occurred, and because of the language in the email chain that I then read for the first time, I included that meeting on a supplement. I did so even though my attorneys were unable to conclude that the Russian lawyer was a representative of any foreign country and thus fell outside the scope of the form. This supplemental information was also provided voluntarily, well prior to any media inquiries, reporting or request for this information, and it was done soon after I was reminded of the meeting.

****

As I have said from the very first media inquiry, I am happy to share information with the
investigating bodies. I have shown today that I am willing to do so and will continue to cooperate as I have nothing to hide. As I indicated, I know there has been a great deal of speculation and conjecture about my contacts with any officials or people from Russia. I have disclosed these contacts and described them as fully as I can recall. The record and documents I am providing will show that I had perhaps four contacts with Russian representatives out of thousands during the campaign and transition, none of which were impactful in any way to the election or particularly memorable. I am very grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight. I also have tried to provide context for my role in the campaign, and I am proud of the candidate that we supported, of the campaign that we ran, and the victory that we achieved.

It has been my practice not to appear in the media or leak information in my own defense. I have tried to focus on the important work at hand and serve this President and this country to the best of my abilities. I hope that through my answers to questions, written statements and documents I have now been able to demonstrate the entirety of my limited contacts with Russian representatives during the campaign and transition. I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form, above and beyond what is required. Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest.

The post Jared Kushner Statement Released Ahead of Senate Intel Hearing: ‘I Did Not Collude, Nor Know of Anyone Else…’ appeared first on Towleroad.

ambient sounds for writers

Jul. 24th, 2017 01:48 am
archersangel: (historic fiction)
[personal profile] archersangel
via [tumblr.com profile] patternofdefiance 

i don't know if it's to get you in the mood to write or if you want to describe what a location sounds like.

for what ever the reason they have links to various sounds, among others; nature-beach, forest in the morning, rain on car at night, winter wind . places-coffee shop, office, temple, war. fictional places- a bunch of star wars & harry potter locations. transportation-train ride, private jet cabin, airport, submarine. historical- medieval town, pirate ship in a tropical port. ship on rough sea, old west saloon. world-paris, new york, british library, chinese hotel lobby.

weekend uncluttering

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:27 am
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How did everyone's weekend uncluttering go? I know I'm writing this a bit late (for me), but it is still Sunday for some of you, so I'm hoping that counts...

Saturday for me was a bit of a write off, with the first ballet class (for me) of term, and then going to an exhibition ice-hockey match in the evening, but I started a project that I'm hoping will lead to uncluttering the yarn stash -- I'm making multi coloured knit strips (30 stitches wide, 85cm long) which will be sewn together to make blankets to be donated to a local cat shelter. I'm very deliberately not thinking about colour order, or much in the way of yarn weight (I'm pretty sure most of it is 8ply, but at least one of them would have been 12 ply), and just grabbing everything out of the Basket Where Left Over Yarn Goes to Rot* that is a tiny ball of 'urgh, whatever will I do with that'. I've gone for the strips idea because the materials and tools for one strip will fit in a tiny carry bag (which I made from fabric I've been hoarding for years because I knew it was useful, but didn't have a specific task -- like soft tulle). Strip one is about 50cm, so I'm pretty happy with that!

And then I spent Sunday working on finishing existing craft projects, so that at least I can get those out of the work space, and know what is 'left overs'.

(Today, I'm going to take the big box of random Stuff from the front hall, and drop it in at an op-shop, on the way to do the school pickup. Not quite in the right direction, which is why I've managed to put so much Stuff in it).



* Sadly, not quite hyperbole -- one ball had weaknesses where it split about every 30cm, so in the end it was just pulled to pieces and shoved in the 'stuffing' jar.
vaysh11: a.Daily Snitch (Daily Snitch)
[personal profile] vaysh11 posting in [community profile] daily_snitch
Joanne K. Rowling – Life and Books:
• 23 Things you didn't know about J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe. (The Independent)

Harry Potter – Actors and Movies:
• Happy Birthday, Daniel Radcliffe!
• James & Oliver Phelps (the Weasley twins), John Cleese (Nearly Headless Nick), Zoë Wanamaker (Madam Hooch), Mark Williams (Mr Weasley), David Bradley (Argus Filch), Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood) and Danielle Tabor (Angelina Johnson) will be at the London Film & Comic Con on July 28 to 30.
• Frank Dillon (young Tom Riddle), Jason Issacs (Lucius Malfoy), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone) in San Diego Comic Con trailers and posters.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
• Sneak Preview at definite edition of 'Cursed Child' script.

Prompt Challenges:
[livejournal.com profile] hogwarts365 posted Prompt # 202 (due on or before July 29): “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” ― Anthony Burgess, Questions and West Tower.
[livejournal.com profile] slythindor100 posted the Week 2 Results and the Week 3 Prompt of the on-going H/D LDWS Challenge.

Communities:
[livejournal.com profile] rarepair_shorts is looking for 4 More Gifts for people's Wishlists.
[livejournal.com profile] dogdaysofsummer announced the Dog Days of Summer, the Wolfstar summer fest that will be running all August.
[livejournal.com profile] dramione_remix made a Mod Post about posting to AO3 for Round 8.

Masterlists and Weekly Round-ups:
[livejournal.com profile] hogwarts365 posted the Prompt #201 Masterlist.

Fandom Recs:
[livejournal.com profile] themightyflynn recced a Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter/Severus Snape fic at the [livejournal.com profile] crack_broom (NC-17).
[livejournal.com profile] rosevalleynb recced a Pansy Parkinson/Ron Weasley fic at the [profile] crack_broom (R).
[livejournal.com profile] toblass recced young Severus Snape art (G).
[livejournal.com profile] rosevalleynb recced a Merope Gaunt/Harry Potter and Tom Riddle fic at the [livejournal.com profile] crack_broom (PG-13).
[livejournal.com profile] themightyflynn recced young Lucius Malfoy art (PG).
[livejournal.com profile] gracerene made a huge post with all her Harry Potter cross-gen recs (more than 80 recs, various pairings and ratings).

Resources:
Schedule of Upcoming Events from 23 to 29 July at [livejournal.com profile] potterfests.
• The SS/HP Prophet from July 15 through 22.

Archive News:
• OTW Guest Post: UsedKarma about starting the Darcyland fan network for Darcy Lewis (MCU, Thor) fandom.

Essay/Meta:
• Jasmine from MuggleNet wrote In an Attempt to Emulate the Trio, I Forage My Sparse Pantry for a Week.
• 19 tumblr posts you won't understand if you haven't read the 'Harry Potter' books.

General Fandom News:
• Deathly Hallows: 10 Years Later.
• Updates from San Diego Comic-Con.
Sign-ups are open at [community profile] crossovering, the multi-fandom cross-over challenge.

Nifty:
• The Riddikulusly Hard Harry Potter Quiz. (Editor got an Acceptable! ;))

Searches:
[livejournal.com profile] accio_hd_fics posted a search for dark!Harry fics. (Drarry only)
[livejournal.com profile] bluefatso posted a search for Draco/Harry Mafia AUs. (Drarry only)
[community profile] daily_snitch is looking for your recs (fic, art, podfic, meta ...) for the Special Edition: Newt Scamander.


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(53) Diana Prince in Justice League

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:34 pm
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(53) Justice League trailer & Comic Con sneak peek
→ Diana Prince

Previews;


OVER HERE at [community profile] megascopes

Prompt for 2017-07-23

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:24 pm
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Today's prompt is "bearing witness".
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Posted by Andy Towle

Anthony Rapp’s lieutenant in the new Star Trek Discovery TV series will be the first gay character in a Star Trek TV series and Wilson Cruz will play his love interest, Rapp announced at San Diego Comic Con.

Watch Rapp announce the casting in the video above.

HuffPost reports:

Anthony Rapp, who plays Lt. Paul Stamets, made the announcement Saturday at the San Diego Comic-Con during a panel discussion on the show, and dropped another bombshell.

Rapp’s onscreen love, he said, will be played by Wilson Cruz, who is best known for his iconic turn as Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez on the short-lived mid-1990s TV classic, “My So-Called Life.”

“Wilson Cruz will be playing my love interest, my partner ― my man love ― and we’re both officers on the ship,” he said during the panel.

Although the Sulu character in the 2016 movie “Star Trek Beyond” is gay, Rapp’s character is the first openly gay main character on a “Star Trek” TV series.

He said: “And I’m very proud of that. And he’s a scientist!”

Instagram Photo

 

An official trailer for the new series debuted at San Diego Comic Con:

The post Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz to Bring First Gay Characters to Star Trek TV Series in Onscreen Romance: VIDEO appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

sue kim davis

The taxpayers of the state of Kentucky must pay $225,000 in legal fees and court costs in a case brought against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis by gay couples refused marriage licenses. In 2015, Davis refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her her Christian beliefs.

The Herald-Leader reports:

Although Kentucky county clerks are elected at the county level, the Rowan County Fiscal Court had no influence over Davis’ decision in summer 2015 to protest the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States by refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone, U.S. District Judge David Bunning wrote in his decision. Therefore, it would be unfair to hold the county government responsible for her actions, Bunning wrote.

By contrast, Bunning wrote, Davis’ authority to issue marriage licenses was awarded to her by the state government.

And had the state chosen to, Bunning wrote, it could have pursued criminal penalties against Davis for official misconduct — then-Attorney General Jack Conway, running for governor in 2015, refused a formal request to do so — or the legislature could have impeached her and removed her from office. Instead, the legislature “modified the marriage license form to appease Davis” by removing county clerks’ names as she requested, he wrote.

Because the couples won their suit against Davis when she was acting as a “public official” she’s not being held personally liable for the fees.

Represented by anti-gay litigation group the Liberty Counsel, Davis’s lawyers had argued that she shouldn’t have to pay because the issue became moot when the Kentucky legislature did as Davis asked and removed county clerks’ names from state marriage licenses. However, lawyers for the plaintiffs said they were compelled to sue because Davis violated the law.

Liberty Counsel said it would appeal the decision though it was pleased that Davis wasn’t held personally liable:

“We are pleased that neither Kim Davis nor Rowan County are liable for attorney’s fees or costs,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, who represented Kim Davis. “The part of the ruling that finds the plaintiffs were prevailing parties is contrary to the law because the legislature mooted the case by passing a law that provides for the precise religious liberty accommodation Kim Davis sought. While Kim Davis and Rowan County are not liable for fees and costs, neither is the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and this aspect of the ruling will be appealed,” Staver said. “The Magistrate correctly found that the plaintiffs were not the prevailing parties. That ruling is consistent with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order and the legislature mooted the case and prevents the plaintiffs from being prevailing parties. Without prevailing party status, there can be no attorney’s fees,” said Staver.

The post Kentucky Taxpayers Must Foot $225,000 Bill for Kim Davis’s Anti-Gay Bigotry: Judge appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Luis Damian Veron

Australian comedian Rhys Nicholson took the opportunity to get in a dig against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a joint television appearance, in criticism of his conservative government’s continuing inaction on marriage equality.

Nicholson, who is openly gay and engaged to partner Kyran Wheatley, has previously expressed impatience with the couple’s wait for a legal marriage. Following a failed legislative attempt to put forth a plebiscite vote on the subject, Turnbull’s government has since refused to allow a free vote even as bills have come before parliamentary committees.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the skirmish:

Turnbull was a special guest on Ten’s panel show to defend the Government’s controversial new Home Affairs security portfolio to be headed by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

But, as often happens when politicians appear on entertainment shows, he stuck around for some lighthearted banter, sitting in on a story about the spike in demand for redheaded sperm donors, which Nicholson, a “ginger ambassador,” was beamed in to comment on.

After being awkwardly quizzed on redhead semantics, the comedian flipped the goofy discussion to a more significant analogy.

“The main thing is you don’t want anyone to be treated differently for something they can’t change about themselves, so just deal with it – like, for example, marriage rights or something,” he said.

With Turnbull caught offguard, host Carrie Bickmore quickly shut the segment down, telling the PM “I’m gonna save you from that.”

But Nicholson’s quip wasn’t lost on viewers, who praised him as a “bloody legend” for speaking up on marriage equality and confronting the PM.

Nicholson later denied that he had been cut off unceremoniously by the host:


Regardless, Nicholson’s jibe seemed to draw blood as Turnbull chuckled uncomfortably and the segment drew to a stilted close.

Watch the exchange below:

The post Australian Comedian Brutally Trolls PM Malcolm Turnbull with Marriage Quip : WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

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Posted by Andy Towle

A 4-minute Justice League trailer dropped at San Diego Comic-Con and brings Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot at the forefront here, following her blockbuster smash solo film), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and possibly Superman (Henry Cavill) together to face Steppenwolf and the Parademons.

Here’s the official synopsis: “Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.  But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”

The movie is out on November 17th.

The post The Superhero All-Stars are All In for This Epic 4-Minute ‘Justice League’ Trailer: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.

OTW Guest Post: UsedKarma

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:09 am
otw_staff: Sarah Loch OTW Communications Staffer (Sarah Loch OTW Communications Staffer)
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Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

Fan artist/writer Usedkarma tells us about her fandom history, the Darcyland network, & what sets it apart https://goo.gl/NUqCir

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:13 pm
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The local community theater guild is hosting a yard sale. I pay the guild $10, I get a space to sell my stuff.

Suddenly my "departing the living space for keeps" pile has grown by a dozen books and about three dozen DVD/Blu-ray cases.

Funny how that works. XD

(Whatever I don't sell will just go to the library book sale or the Goodwill as appropriate.)

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