Travelers Chant ‘Lock Him Up’ As Man In Trump Hat Is Removed From United Plane

Passengers chanted ?lock him up? as United Airlines had a man sporting a Donald Trump ?Make America Great Again? campaign hat removed from a flight in Shanghai. The man delayed takeoff for hours as he was escorted from the flight for being belligerent, the airline confirmed in a statement Monday. 

The incident is the latest in a slew of mid-air confrontations this year, with United hitting the headlines for an ugly incident involving a staff member. This time, passengers were reportedly upset with the unnamed man in the Trump campaign hat for refusing to allow anyone to sit next to him on Flight 187, apparently because he had been refused an upgrade.

He became so disruptive that airline staff told passengers to exit the plane so that they could remove him before the flight could travel to its destination in Newark, according to the airline. By the time the plane took off, it had to make an unscheduled stop in San Francisco to replace the crew, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In scenes reminiscent of Trump taunting 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton at campaign rallies, videos show people in the terminal at Shanghai Pudong International Airport chanting ?charge him? and ?lock him up? at the man.

?Obviously, the hat provoked some of the stuff,? Alexis Zimmerman, who was flying back to Newark, told The Washington Post. Zimmerman said he heard the man say, ?I know people don?t like my hat.?

Fellow passengers reported the man called other travelers names on the flight, including ?moron, ?lesbian? and ?Hillary.?

He referred to another passenger as ?stupid friend over here that don?t know how to speak English,? video shows

It?s unclear what happened to the man in Shanghai.

?We?re grateful for the patience shown by our customers who endured the disruptive behavior of this passenger, as well as the exceptional poise and professionalism of our flight crew,? United said in a statement.

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Soon There Will Be A ‘Rat Cafe’ Where You Can Dine Among Rodent Pals

Cat cafes are all the rage these days, so it only seems logical that some other species are getting in on the action.

For two days this summer, San Francisco will be host to a pop-up rat cafe, where patrons will be able to enjoy coffee and pastries in the company of the critters, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The San Francisco Dungeon, a tourist attraction where actors reenact bits of the region?s history, will be hosting the event July 1 and July 7.

Don?t worry ? these aren?t wild rats brought in from the streets. Instead, the rodents of honor are adoptable domestic pets from Rattie Ratz, a Bay Area rat rescue group. That means that if you get along especially well with one of the rats at the cafe, you may decide to make your new friend a permanent addition to your life.

Though many people are freaked out by the very idea of rats, domestic rats are social, clean animals that are highly intelligent and trainable.

Tickets for the rat cafe are $49.99 apiece and include coffee, tea or water and a breakfast pastry, according to a press release. When you?re done eating, you get 15 minutes set aside to hang out with the ?ambassador rats.?

Incidentally, Bon Appetit published an article about a Brooklyn rat cafe in 2014, but the story was just an April Fools? joke.

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Another White Supremacist Monument Comes Down. At Least 700 More To Go.

The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has towered over New Orleans? busy Lee Circle for 133 years was taken down amid cheers Friday. 

It?s the fourth and final Confederate monument the city had slated to take down, and its removal marks the end of one of America?s more successful ? and publicized ? campaigns to expel symbols of white supremacy from public property. 

In a speech Friday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu made it clear that these statues were part of a ?movement which became known as the cult of the Lost Cause.?

?This ?cult? had one goal,? he explained, ?through monuments and through other means, to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

?These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror that it actually stood for.?

The history of the Confederacy, he added, is one ?we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.? 

But there remain hundreds of Confederate generals and soldiers on pedestals across America, their proud poses belying the savage system of slavery, rape and torture they fought, and sometimes died, to defend. 

A Southern Poverty Law Center study last year identified more than 1,500 Confederate symbols on public property, including ?monuments and statues; flags; holidays and other observances; and the names of schools, highways, parks, bridges, counties, cities, lakes, dams, roads, military bases, and other public works.? 

Of those symbols, 718 were statues or monuments like those in New Orleans, some explicitly extolling the cause of the Confederacy. 

In Anderson County, South Carolina ? home to about 42,000 African-Americans ? there?s a statue that reads, in part: ?The world shall yet decide, in truth?s clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right.? 

Efforts to remove such statues gained momentum in June 2015, after Dylann Roof massacred nine black parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. After pictures emerged of Roof, an avowed white supremacist, posing with the Confederate flag, a fierce national debate emerged over the symbol of the Southern Army. 

Last month, the SPLC said it ?found that at least 60 such publicly funded symbols of the Confederacy have been removed or renamed? since Roof opened fire in Charleston. The interactive map below shows where removals have taken place.

Still, removing a Confederate symbol can be fraught with legal challenges and fierce, sometimes violent, opposition. 

Lawsuits continually delayed New Orleans? efforts to remove its statues. When a judge finally approved the city?s plan earlier this year, white supremacists issued death threats against Mayor Landrieu and the city contractors he?d hired to tear down the statues.

Tense protests also broke out in New Orleans, with some pro-Confederacy activists carrying guns

A legal fight has delayed the removal of a statue in Memphis, Tennessee, of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who massacred black Union soldiers and later became a prominent Ku Klux Klan leader. 

In Orlando, Florida, people showed up Monday at a city council meeting waving Confederate flags in protest of the mayor?s decision to remove a ?Johnny Reb? statue from a city park. 

Earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia ? where the city council voted earlier this year to sell a statue of Lee ?  a group of protesters led by white supremacist Richard Spencer circled Lee?s statue carrying torches in a demonstration Mayor Mike Singer said harked ?back to the days of the KKK.? A lawsuit there has stalled that statue?s removal for at least six months. 

And in St. Louis this week, Mayor Lyda Krewson said that a 32-foot-tall Confederate monument in a city park should come down but that the city would need to raise funds for its removal. 

Michael ?Quess? Moore co-founded the group Take ?Em Down NOLA, which led New Orleans? charge to remove its Confederate statues. 

He talked to HuffPost over the phone Friday morning while trying to find a parking spot near the Lee statue. He wanted to be there when it came down, an occasion he called ?joyous.? 

?Our movement was a gateway, a conduit to a much bigger conversation about systemic inequity,? Moore said. 

It?s important, he added, that taking down the statues isn?t just a ?cosmetic fix.? 

?It don?t mean a lot to just have statues gone if it doesn?t catalyze the public in ways that will eventually push the governor to change policies, change legislation.? 

New Orleans, he said, is still a city with high incarceration rates, high crime rates and terrible poverty. Its black majority population ?gets treated like trash on a daily basis.?

Asked what advice he had for activists across the country organizing against Confederate symbols, Moore said it?s important to keep constant pressure on local politicians. 

?We have a lot more power than we know, if we just claim it.?

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‘Bachelorette’ Rachel’s Contestant Bios, By The Numbers

Rachel Lindsay?s season of ?The Bachelorette? has been tacitly cast as a new step toward diversity for the franchise. So how do her suitors stack up? Will she be meeting 31 clones, or men from all backgrounds? 

The cast, at first glance, actually promises to offer a more varied one than usual ? more non-white men, fewer fitness trainers, and some real quirky options. Here?s a quick breakdown of Rachel?s dudes by the numbers:

Men of color: 14 

Not bad!

Gelled pompadours: 12

They?re rocking those Jordan Rodgers haircuts.

V-neck T-shirts: 15


Personal trainers: 1

Fewer than usual, actually!

ER doctors: 2

Keeping the mansion safe since 2017.

Lawyers: 2

Three, counting Rachel!

Tickle monsters: 1

We?re hoping this isn?t code for ?molester.?

Whabooms: 1


Fans of The Rock: 3

And every red-blooded straight woman in America.

Fans of Matthew McConaughey: 2

All right all right all right.

Haters of Mike ?The Situation? Sorrentino: 2

What did he ever do to these dudes?

Dudes who admit to getting boners at work: 2

No shame, guys. No shame.

Guy who admits he?s not there for the right reasons: 1

In response to ?What do you hope to get out of participating in this television show?? Milton shamelessly says: ?Real answer? Discovered. Everyone tells me I?m made for TV/movies.?


With 31 men appearing on the season, there?s simply too much bio goodness to fully process at one read. Jamey says he doesn?t have any female friends (um, rude); Lucas, the whaboom, once had a threesome at a wedding; and Anthony is our Haruki Murakami-reading crush. We can?t wait to get this season started.


For more cast bio analysis, check out HuffPost?s Here to Make Friends podcast: 


Do people love ?The Bachelor,? ?The Bachelorette? and ?Bachelor in Paradise,? or do they love to hate these shows? It?s unclear. But here at ?Here to Make Friends,? we both love and love to hate them ? and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

Want more ?Bachelorette? stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPost?s Entertainment email for extra hot goss about The Bachelorette, her 31 bachelors, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some juicy celeb news, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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Trump’s $110 Billion Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia May Be Illegal


WASHINGTON ? The human rights arm of the American Bar Association has sent the Senate a legal analysis saying that President Donald Trump?s plan for an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth more than $100 billion would be illegal because of the Saudis? role in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

Citing ?multiple credible reports of recurring and highly questionable [air]strikes?? by the Saudi military that have killed civilians, the U.S. ?cannot continue to rely on Saudi assurances that it will comply with international law and agreements concerning the use of U.S.-origin equipment,? Michael Newton, a prominent Vanderbilt University law professor and former military judge advocate general, said.

Newton, in his 23-page opinion, said the strikes have continued ?even after Saudi units received training and equipment to reduce civilian casualties.?

?Continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia ? and specifically of arms used in airstrikes ? should not be presumed to be permissible? under the two statutes covering most sales of military equipment by the U.S government to foreign nations, he said.

The letter comes ahead of Trump?s weekend visit to Saudi Arabia, during which the president is to announce the new arms deal. On Friday, the Associated Press reported the package is expected to cover $110 billion in sales of planes, ships, bombs and missile defense technology over 10 years.

Though the Obama administration committed to many elements of the package before Trump?s inauguration, the president is expected to present it as a major accomplishment. Jared Kushner, Trump?s son-in-law and a White House aide, has built a rapport with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and personally intervened with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin to get the Saudis a better deal, The New York Times reported.

The bar association?s Center for Human Rights requested the assessment after receiving several congressional inquiries about the legality of continued sales to the Saudis. Senators skeptical of the Saudi campaign in Yemen unsuccessfully tried to block a $1.15 billion arms transfer last fall. The legal analysis suggests that they should try again.

A U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition of countries has been at war in Yemen for over 2 years, fighting Iran-backed militants who have taken over much of the country. The coalition has been repeatedly accused of war-crime violations for its role in the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Arab world?s poorest country.

The United Nations has reported nearly 5,000 deaths have occurred, and said the actual toll is likely far higher. U.N. experts have repeatedly singled out coalition airstrikes, which are supported by American aerial refueling, as the single largest cause of civilian casualties during various periods in the conflict. Meanwhile, naval blockades by the coalition and interference in aid deliveries by the pro-Iran militants have caused a major humanitarian crisis: 19 million Yemenis are in need of aid, according to the U.N., and a famine may soon be declared.

Extremist groups, notably Al Qaeda, have taken advantage of the chaos to expand their power.

Then-President Barack Obama authorized U.S. assistance to the coalition in March 2015. His administration halted some arms transfers last December after a major Saudi-led attack on a funeral, but it kept up the majority of U.S. support.

Obama approved a record-breaking $115 billion in arms sales to the Saudis during his time in office, but the country?s leaders frequently claimed he abandoned them because of his nuclear diplomacy with Iran and reluctance to strongly intervene in Syria. Trump is expected to speak of the military deal as a sign of a renewed commitment to the longtime U.S. partner ? even though he often criticized the Saudis on the campaign trail.

Newton, in his analysis, charged that Saudi military strikes have deliberately targeted markets and hospitals where few, if any, enemy combatants were located.  He also cited Saudi Arabia?s domestic human rights abuses, its failure to hold military officers accountable and its illegal use of cluster munitions as justifying an immediate end of U.S. military support.

U.S. personnel or contractors could be vulnerable under international humanitarian law if the military sales continue, Newton added ? especially because the armaments could be used in an anticipated Saudi assault on the Yemani port of Hodeidah, which would have a devastating impact on millions. One-time military lawyer Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has suggested that such prosecution is possible.

Despite failed private efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Trump administration has not expressed much public concern about the Saudis? conduct in the conflict. It?s instead loudly cheered the kingdom ? and chosen it as the site for Trump?s first foreign visit, which the Saudis are promoting as an epoch-defining moment.

?There are many who try to find gaps between the policy of the United States and that of Saudi Arabia, but they will never succeed,? Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said in a statement issued Friday by the Saudi Embassy in Washington. ?The position of President Trump, and that of Congress, is completely aligned with that of Saudi Arabia. We agree on Iraq, Iran, Syria and Yemen.  Our relationship is on an upward trajectory.?

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It’s A Problem That America Is Still Unable To Admit That It Will Become #2 To China

Kishore Mahbubani is a former diplomat from Singapore and is currently dean and professor of public policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School at the National University of Singapore. He spoke to the The WorldPost from Singapore in a wide-ranging interview about globalization, immigration, U.S. President Donald Trump and Brexit.

For all its benefits, where has globalization failed key domestic constituencies and why? 

Globalization has not failed. All discussions on globalization are distorted because Western analysts focus on the roughly 15 percent of the world?s population who live in the West. They ignore the 85 percent who are the rest. The last 30 years of human history have been the best 30 years that the rest have enjoyed. Why? The answer is globalization. The rise of the middle class in Asia has spread wealth, faith in the possibility of fair international institutions and a stabilizing rules-based system that benefits the majority of humanity.

So why is there a perception that globalization has failed? The simple answer is that Western elites who enjoyed the fruits of globalization did not share them with their Western masses. Even worse, they did not prepare their populations for the disruptive change caused by the spread of globalization. In a forthcoming book, I explain how Trump and Brexit are the result of this failure. In it, I write:

Instead of reacting thoughtfully and intelligently [to the 9/11 attack in 2001], the prevailing intellectual hubris led to the disastrous decision to invade Iraq. America has the world?s best universities and think tanks, as well as the most globally influential professors and pundits. Yet none of them told their fellow citizens that the most important event in 2001 was not 9/11. It was China?s entry into the World Trade Organization. The entry of almost a billion workers into the global trading system would obviously result in massive ?creative destruction? and the loss of many jobs in the West.

This, to cut a long story short, was one major reason why Trump and Brexit happened 15 years later in 2016. The working-class populations could feel directly what their elites couldn?t feel. Their lives were being disrupted by fundamental changes taking place in the world order, and their leaders had done nothing to explain to them what was happening or to mitigate the damage.

Given this, there is a solution. We need honest and courageous leaders in the West who tell their populations hard truths, like Lee Kuan Yew did here in Singapore. The West, both America and Europe, can certainly compete. However, they have to make major adjustments. For example, no more 35-hour week in France; no more agricultural subsidies in Europe; no more lifelong pension benefits after 55. You get the message.

The West can certainly compete. However, no more 35-hour week in France; no more agricultural subsidies; no more lifelong pension benefits after 55.

Without borders that affirm cultural affinity, walls are rising as people feel their identities are threatened. How can political leaders and parties respond to concerns over immigration without closing their societies?

It is absolutely true that globalization has challenged cultural identities. This also explains Trump and Brexit. America wants to remain an Anglo-Saxon country, not a bilingual country with equal space for the Spanish-speaking population from south of the border. The British want to see an Anglo-Saxon country, not one with Polish and Muslim immigrants. One of the most shocking columns I have read in my life was a column by a lifelong liberal, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, arguing against multiculturalism. Even he wanted to turn the clock backwards.

But you cannot turn the clock backwards. With the end of the era of Western domination, we are moving from a mono-civilizational world dominated by the West to a multi-civilizational world. This is so obvious. Yet, I cannot find a single Western politician who is prepared to state the obvious. This is why Western populations are confused. They have not understood that in this new era of world history, they have to accept multiculturalism, even at home.

To be fair, it is not just Western societies that are facing this challenge. Singapore had a Brexit moment in 2011. One reason why George Yeo, Singapore?s foreign minister at the time, lost his parliamentary seat in the 2011 elections is because there was a backlash against immigrants in Singapore. In an effort to fuel economic growth, the government brought in too many migrants too quickly. It learned its lesson fast. The taps were carefully tightened after 2011. In short, each society will have to find the natural balance between reducing migrants to protect cultural identity and increasing migrants to promote economic growth. Good political management can solve this.

We are moving from a mono-civilizational world dominated by the West to a multi-civilizational world.

With the U.S. relinquishing the global leadership role it has played for decades, China yet unable or unwilling to fill the vacuum and Europe facing internal turmoil over its own integration, what forms of global cooperation can prevent the return to an era of spheres of influence?

Bill Clinton hit the nail on the head in a speech he gave at Yale in 2003:

If you believe that maintaining power and control and absolute freedom of movement and sovereignty is important to your country?s future, there?s nothing inconsistent in [the U.S. continuing to behaving unilaterally]. [The U.S. is] the biggest, most powerful country in the world now. … But if you believe that we should be trying to create a world with rules and partnerships and habits of behavior that we would like to live in when we?re no longer the military political economic superpower in the world, then you wouldn?t do that. It just depends on what you believe.

As America proceeds toward becoming number two in the world (and this is inevitable), it should abandon its destructive policies of unilateralism and start a new era of constructive policies of multilateralism. It is that simple. Unfortunately, no American leader has the courage to defend multilateralism. The root cause of many of the problems in the West is political cowardice of the first order.

There will be no return to exclusive spheres of influence. Each region will have multiple choices. Latin America can no longer be subject to the Monroe doctrine. China?s trade and investment links with Latin America will become as large as those of the U.S. Africa will receive many suitors, including China and India, Europe and Japan. The disappearance of exclusive spheres of influence is a result of growing globalization and the resulting reality of living in a small interdependent world. 

As America proceeds toward becoming number two, it should abandon its destructive policies of unilateralism.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said ?technology is the new economic battlefield? and pledged to shift the Chinese economy away from the export model toward domestic consumption and production with his internet-plus program called ?Made in China 2025,? which seeks to reach the global tech innovation high ground. China is also expanding regional trade ties and pushing out the ?One Belt, One Road? strategy to link up markets from Beijing to Istanbul. By contrast, Trump?s ?America First? policy has been called ?Made in America 1955? by critics since it seeks to protect industrial manufacturing markets. He has also pledged to retract global trade deals. How might these two strategies complement instead of conflict with each other? 

An economic partnership between America and China is a marriage made in heaven. America is rich in technology, it has an affluent middle class despite the recent stagnation, and it has a desperate need for new infrastructure. China is rich in capital and has developed world-class infrastructure-building capabilities. If the U.S. and China were two companies, instead of two countries, they would naturally forge an economic partnership with each other. Unfortunately, they are countries, not companies. Hence, geopolitical zero-sum games prevent the natural positive-sum economic cooperation that should happen.

Most Americans think that China is the irrational and illogical player in the America-China equation. To be absolutely fair and objective, China is rational and predictable. America is not. Common sense often does not prevail in American political discourse. Any American politician who even dares to suggest that it would be logical to forge a new U.S.-China infrastructure partnership would be excoriated immediately. The big question therefore is: can the U.S. be rational with China?

What bridges can be built to prevent hostility or even outright conflict between the U.S. and China, the world?s two largest economies?

A new U.S.-China infrastructure partnership is the best bridge to build between the two countries. At the same time, all the current strong and positive points in the relationship must be sustained. The U.S. can remain a major market for Chinese products. China should continue to send hundred of thousands of young Chinese to study in American universities. Both should also collaborate on geopolitical issues, like North Korea.

The recent trade agreement between the U.S. and China was a big plus. So too was the American decision to upgrade its delegation to the Belt and Road summit in Beijing. If the U.S. wants to be really cunning, it should seize the many business opportunities that the ?One Belt, One Road? initiative will eventually offer. Pragmatism and common sense should replace ideology and pride in American thinking of China.

Quite amazingly, China is now speaking the language of most American leaders. At the summit, Xi Jinping said, ?Trade is an important engine driving growth. We should embrace the outside world with an open mind, uphold the multilateral trading regime, advance the building of free trade areas and promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.? Surely, any sensible American leader would agree with every word in this statement. 

If the U.S. wants to be cunning, it should seize the business opportunities that the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative will eventually offer.

Overall, how can the imperative of global cooperation be reconciled with the winning political narrative articulated so clearly by Trump, who has said, ?there is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency or a global flag??

The big question is whether nationalist leaders like Trump show a deep understanding of the small integrated world that is coming or whether they reflect a last-ditch attempt by two leaders to recreate historical glories that have long gone. When Trump says consistently that he wants to ?make America great again,? it shows that he is driving America into the future by looking at the rear-view mirror. No new forward-looking policies will be possible under Trump. However, the political pendulum will swing again in the U.S. ? just as Stephen Harper was replaced by Justin Trudeau in Canada and Francois Hollande replaced by Emmanuel Macron in France, the same could well happen in the U.S. We must be patient and wait for change.

The paradoxical result of Brexit is that the United Kingdom will have to rebuild its economic links with the rest of the world and look for new global markets to replace the lost economic opportunities in the EU. Hence, British Prime Minister Theresa May, despite her efforts to rebuild a strong British identity, will end up creating a U.K. that is more globalized than the the U.K. was as a European Union member. The need to develop stronger economic engagement with the rest of the world will lead to a necessary tempering of the nationalist rhetoric. Over time, the U.K. could also produce a figure like Trudeau or Macron.

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Donald Trump And James Comey Clash In Hilarious Auto-Tuned Rap Battle

If you?re struggling to keep up with President Donald Trump?s ongoing battle between former FBI Director James Comey ? don?t worry.

The Gregory Brothers are here to briefly summarize what?s gone down between the duo in recent months ? via an auto-tuned rap clash.

The team behind ?Songify the News? have rehashed political events for the spoof video.

?I can promise you, promise you, I have no information that supports those tweets,? Comey ?raps,? in reference to Trump?s baseless claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in the run-up to the 2016 election.

The president, meanwhile, just can?t stop spitting verses about subpoenas.

Check it out in the clip above.

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Why Trump Doesn’t Have The Power To Mess With National Monuments

WASHINGTON ? Nothing gives U.S. presidents the authority to abolish, shrink or otherwise weaken national monuments, four legal scholars have concluded in a new analysis.

However timely and significant, the findings are likely to be ignored by President Donald Trump, who appears set on trying to rescind monument status on sites such as the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, or at least shrink them. If he does, the administration will almost certainly be challenged in court.

In their paper, two law professors from the University of Colorado and UCLA, an assistant law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a law school fellow at UCLA conclude that Congress, not the president, has sole legal power to rescind or weaken protections for monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906. 

Twenty-seven of America?s national monuments, spanning more than 11 million acres of land and about 760 million acres of ocean, are threatened by a pair of executive orders signed by Trump last month. One order tasks the Interior Department with reviewing all federal monuments 100,000 acres or larger that were established or expanded after Jan. 1, 1996. The other instructs the Department of Commerce to review all marine sanctuaries and monuments designated or expanded within the last 10 years.

Sean Hecht, a co-author of the paper and co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law, told HuffPost the Antiquities Act ? signed by President Theodore Roosevelt more than a century ago ? is ?unusual? in that, unlike other statutes of that era, it did not grant presidents the authority to withdraw or revoke protections. The point of the law is to allow for presidents to set aside areas for preservation ? not take away protections put in place by their predecessors.

Furthering their argument, Hecht and the others point to a 1938 opinion by then-Attorney General Homer Cummings and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, which conclude the law does not allow for a president to reverse a monument.

?We?re confident that our reading of the law is correct,? Hecht told HuffPost.

The Antiquities Act authorizes the president to ?declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments.? Sixteen presidents have used the law to designate 157 monuments

No president has ever tried to revoke a monument designation.

Trump?s orders call for the pair of federal agencies to ?review? recent designations and offer recommendations. What Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have made clear, however, is that they are pushing for much more. 

In his remarks last month, Trump said he?s looking to end ?another egregious abuse of federal power,? put ?states back in charge? and open up now-protected areas to ?tremendously positive things.? The law, he added, ?does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it?s time we ended this abusive practice.?

Zinke said last month that the law has ?become a tool of political advocacy rather than public interest? and that past administrations have abused it by ignoring its language specifying monuments be ?confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management.?

?Despite this clear directive, ?smallest area? has too often become the exception rather than the rule,? Zinke said last month.

In an attempt to make his point, Zinke noted that America?s first monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming, designated by Roosevelt in 1906, was less than 1,200 acres. ?Yet, in recent years, we?ve seen monuments span tens of millions of acres,? Zinke said, a clear reference to marine monument designations and expansions by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

What Zinke fails to mention is that the size of several early monuments rival the designations of recent years. In 1908, for example, two years after the Antiquities Act became law, Roosevelt ? of whom Zinke is an ?unapologetic admirer and disciple? ? designated more than 800,000 acres of Grand Canyon as a national monument. (Only a few Obama-era land monuments are larger.)

Republican presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover also designated monuments over a million acres. Coolidge designated Alaska?s Glacier Bay in 1925, and Hoover set aside California?s Death Valley in 1937.

Hecht said he sees what the Trump administration is doing ? and saying ? as ?wholly political.? A look at history, he said, clearly shows that presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have used the law to much the same scope and scale.

Ultimately, Hecht expects the Trump administration will move to abolish or shrink monuments, which will inevitably lead to a battle in the courts. If that happens, Hecht said, he would expect a court to agree with the legal position he and the others outlined in their paper. 

?For more than 100 years, Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama have used the Antiquities Act to protect our historical, scientific, and cultural heritage, often at the very moment when these resources were at risk of being exploited,? the authors write. ?That is the enduring legacy of this extraordinary law. And it remains our best hope for preserving our public land resources well into the future.?

The paper has been accepted for publication by Virginia Law Review Online.

As part of its review, the Interior Department kicked off a public comment period last week. Comments relating to Bears Ears are due by May 26, while comments related to all other monuments must be submitted by July 10. As of Thursday, more than 45,000 comments had been submitted. 

Read the full research paper here.

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3 Filipina-American Journalists Discuss ‘My Family’s Slave’ And Who Gets To Judge It

This week, it seemed the entire internet had something to say about The Atlantic?s latest cover story, written by the late Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon.

Tizon?s personal essay, which detailed his life with a woman he first knew as Lola and eventually identified as his family?s slave, quickly went viral.

People reacted emotionally. People acted with outrage. People criticized Tizon for participating in modern-day slavery. People criticized him for telling Lola?s story ? Eudocia Tomas Pulido?s story ? in the first place.

Then, Filipinos began speaking up for themselves in an attempt to explain a culture that many felt the rest of the world simply could not understand. 

Filipinos and Filipino-Americans wondered out loud: How could the rest of the world, especially wealthier countries, expect to solve the Philippines? social issues without experiencing their painful history and cultural complexities first-hand?

And, more pointedly, who gets to tell Filipinos how their stories should be told? 

Once the story saturated the internet, three Filipina-American journalists at HuffPost found ourselves grappling with our own identities and wondered how Tizon and Pulido?s stories could be viewed from a more open perspective ? one that considers privilege, race, culture and class.

So we took our conversation to Slack, a group chat app used in many workplaces. Before you fully dive into the chats, here is a bit on our respective backgrounds: 

Carla Herreria, a HuffPost Trends reporter based in Hawaii, has had relatives who have both hired and have been hired as maids. Her parents emigrated from the Philippines to California, where they became citizens and started a family.

Dzana Ashworth, a HuffPost video producer based in New York, was adopted by Jewish parents and born and raised in the U.S. Her parents hired a Filipina caretaker, who is now Ashworth?s godmother.

Danielle Datu, a HuffPost social editor based in Los Angeles, was born to parents who emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. to become citizens. Both her parents had hired maids while growing up in the Philippines.

Read snippets below of our conversation, which took place over the course of three days.

I appreciated that the author was trying to sort out growing up in due cultures and, eventually, reckoning with his guilt over the normalcy of having a ?slave.?

Many Filipinos don?t have much, so I wouldn?t be surprised if some took people in as help? feels like a way for them to take care of each other.

I’m not sure if it’s up to non-national Filipinos to decide for a country that has larger problems than we could know.

For me, it felt like a very familiar scenario just by virtue of growing up in a Filipino family.

She should’ve been treated better. Not that it’s an excuse, but being an immigrant in America has incredible hardships and things are said or done ? even within the family ? that one might regret later.

Many of us (non-Asian, or non-Filipinx, or even non-nationals) don’t have answers. And that’s okay even if it’s also unsettling.

I think it’s a conversation that Filipino nationals have to have. They’re the ones who understand the complexities of their own country… they’re the ones who are hiring or being hired to escape poverty.

More should be done to ensure that hired domestic helpers have rights and are not treated this way. This is 2017 and it should not be happening.

Read all of The Atlantic?s story, ?My Slave?s Family,? by Alex Tizon here.

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Accused Shooter Allegedly Poops On His Arrest Warrant

Being accused of a crime is pretty crappy, but that?s no reason to poop on a search warrant.

That?s what a Florida man accused of shooting at a Deerfield Beach deputy allegedly did while his paperwork was being processed, according to the Broward County Sheriff?s Office.

Demetrius Vidale, 24, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a shootout that took place at about 3 a.m. Monday near Tropicante Nightclub, according to the Miami Herald.

Authorities accuse Vidale of shooting and robbing club-goer Jordan Harris, who is expected to recover.

In addition, Vidale allegedly shot at Broward Sheriff?s deputy Derrick Nesbitt, who was responding to reports of gunshots.

The deputy fired back but wasn?t injured, according to WSVN TV.

Vidale managed to elude capture until the next day, when he was apprehended while driving in Fort Lauderdale.

Now Vidale has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, armed robbery, obstructing a police officer executing a search warrant and driving with a revoked license, according to the criminal complaint.

But it?s what Vidale allegedly did while in custody that?s really raising a stink.

When officers pulled over Vidale, they served him with a search warrant to get his DNA in order to match him to the crime scene.

Vidale refused to let officers take his picture, fingerprints or DNA, claiming a judge had ?no jurisdiction over him,? according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

However, while Vidale?s paperwork was being processed, he allegedly went into the bathroom and dumped a whole bunch of DNA ? or ?defecation not appreciated? ? on the warrant, according to WSVN-TV.

Vidale appeared in court on Wednesday where he chose to represent himself and to argue with the judge, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Jail records show Vidale remains behind bars at the Broward County Main Jail.

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Pharrell To College Graduates: ‘We Need To Lift Up Our Women’

Pharrell Williams wants this year?s college graduates to shatter barriers by empowering women.

On Wednesday, the Grammy Award-winner delivered NYU?s annual commencement speech at Yankee Stadium, where he encouraged graduates and guests to use their talents to promote gender equality.

?As you find your way to serve humanity it gives me great comfort knowing that this generation is the first that understands that we need to lift up our women,? Williams, who was also honored with a Doctor of Fine Arts degree by the university for his commitment to change and education, said. ?Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long and, therefore, have held us all back. The human race.?  

?The world that you live in will be a lot better for it. This is the first generation that navigates the world with the security and the confidence to treat women as equal,? he added. ?And it makes some people uncomfortable, but still just imagine the possibilities.?

The ?Happy? crooner?s inspirational speech underscores his previous comments to raise awareness surrounding gender bias.

Last year during a roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter in promotion of the film ?Hidden Figures,? Williams expressed how the need to highlight the historical achievements of women ? such as the three mathematicians in the film ? is long overdue.

?This is a story that?s been around this entire time,? he said. ?These women were victims of error and circumstance. We look back in history and women?s contribution to any kind of advancement was always discounted, dismissed, or overlooked, erased, not acknowledged.?


Check out Pharrell?s NYU commencement speech in the clip above.

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50 Activists Fighting For LGBTQ Rights in 50 States

There is no one way to be an LGBTQ rights advocate. You could be the director of a non-profit organization working to protect incarcerated gender nonconforming individuals or a mother fighting for her trans daughter?s right to be treated like any other kid. You could identify as LGBTQ or be an ally. You could chair multiple initiatives and campaigns or be a new face at an introductory meeting. In the fight for the rights of LGBTQ communities?which are currently at threat by a staggering increase in hate crimes, heightened anti-gay sentiment, and proposed anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country?there is room for all levels of engagement, experience, and skill.

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Former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes Dead

Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes died on Thursday, his wife, Elizabeth Ailes, confirmed in a statement. He was 77.

Ailes? death comes less than a year after he was ousted from the network after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. 

HuffPost has reached out to Fox News for comment.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Trailer Goes Where No Trailer Has Gone Before

The new trailer for ?Star Trek: Discovery? is finally here, and it?s out of this world.

The series faced some bumps along the way, having its premiere delayed, but CBS finally released the trailer at its upfront presentation on Wednesday. From the teaser, we learn that 10 years before Captain Kirk there was First Officer Michael Burnham, aka Sonequa Martin-Green from ?The Walking Dead.? And she kicks butt.

In addition to Martin-Green, ?Star Trek: Discovery? features a solid cast, including Michelle Yeoh (?Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?) as Captain Philippa Georgiou, Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy from ?Harry Potter?) as Captain Lorca, and James Frain (?Gotham?) as Spock?s father.

The network seems to have a lot of confidence in the show, as it already bumped up a Season 1 order from 13 to 15 episodes. From this trailer, we can see why.

You can watch ?Star Trek: Discovery? on CBS All Access this fall.

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Even The Freaking Squirrels Have Six-Packs Now So I Guess I Should Just Give Up

Isn?t nature great? A peaceful escape, where you can totally forget about living up to all the superficial demands of socie ? oh, never mind. Even the squirrels have six-packs.

OK, so the ripped-looking squirrel pictured doesn?t actually have a ?six-pack.? (Or is it an eight-pack? Really depends on how you?re looking at the photo.) It?s just conveniently colored fur that gives off that illusion. (Please do not attempt this optical illusion yourself at home with a contouring kit.)

But in any case, the image was striking enough that Flo McEwan snapped a pic of the dashing furball near a church in Baldock, England.

Black squirrels are actually regular old grey squirrels with a genetic mutation that causes them to have darker fur.

McEwan told Caters News she had heard this mutation can make the squirrels more aggressive, but said that didn?t seem to be the case with her new muscled friend.

?This little chap was very friendly and not at all worried to be so close to me,? she said.

H/T The Metro

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Here Is A Genius Way To Piss Off Men When They Hit On You

Feminista Jones, an author, activist, and social worker based in Philadelphia, decided to jokingly post a ?challenge? to women on Friday to Twitter.

?Piss a man off today: Tell him you agree with his compliment of you,? she said in the tweet.

Jones told Buzzfeed that her approach was supposed to be tongue-and-cheek but the idea stemmed from personal experiences she?s had and various articles she?s read about the subject.

?It?s not a new idea, but in my own experience when [a man] complimented me and I say, ?I agree,? they get upset,? Jones told the site. ?It?s the idea that they bestow the compliment on you, and you?re not supposed to be aware of it.?

Jones went on to elaborate a little more in the thread of her original tweet.

Jones? posts struck a chord, because many women began to chime in with their own opinions and experiences.

And some men had their opinions as well ?

But it?s not like society doesn?t perpetuate this social expectation ?

? We have no idea what she?s talking about.

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Let’s now recite a random poem to fill these random sentence groups. Roses are red, sky is blue, can anyone tell The cost of hairstroke eyebrow procedure differs from one clinic to another in Minneapolis, so it is a good idea to get a quote or estimate from different clinics and choose the best offer. that I need to go to bed? It doesn’t rhyme, I know. But I am really good at programming and my friends without a doubt suck at it. Haha, it’s not a great feeling though.

Selena Gomez Raises Eyebrows After Posting Photo Of Bandaged Wrist

Selena Gomez?s new single hasn?t even come out yet, but she?s already inviting controversy with some provocative promotional art. 

The pop star has been teasing her song ?Bad Liar? on Instagram all week ahead of its release on Thursday, with photos of lyrics written in lipstick on mirrors and video snippets of the single

She took things one step further on Tuesday with a sepia-toned image of herself looking sullen while lying in bed with a yellow wristband that reads ?RISK? and a bandaged forearm. Gomez also made the photo her new Twitter profile image. 

Without any context surrounding when or why the photo was taken, some fans jumped to the conclusion that the image was touching upon issues of self-harm and suicide, shocking some and offending others. 

#BadLiar 5.18

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Given Gomez?s latest project, ?13 Reasons Why,? it?s not too far a stretch to imagine that she might incorporate this kind of imagery into her new music. The hit Netflix show, executive produced by the singer, focuses on a group of high school students left reeling after their classmate takes her own life. Gomez herself has drawn parallels between the characters in the series and her own personal struggles as of late.

Many critics, as well as experts in mental health fields, have accused the ?13 Reasons Why? creators of trivializing and romanticizing these issues for the sake of a compelling story. Netflix even responded the the backlash by adding new trigger warnings before particularly graphic episodes.

The optics of Gomez?s image are certainly up for debate, but her fans and photographer Petra Collins were quick to shut down speculation that the photo had anything to do with self-harm.

In an Instagram comment that is no longer visible ? Collins has since disabled comments ? the photographer responded to a fan?s criticism by explaining that the photo was actually taken ?straight from the hospital? after Gomez was treated for lupus. 

The 24-year-old has struggled with the chronic and painful disorder in recent years, taking a career break in late August 2016 due to mental health issues stemming for her diagnosis. She only returned to the spotlight in late 2016, extolling the virtues of self-care and opening up about dealing with anxiety, panic attacks and depression in speeches and at press events. 

Gomez has yet to address the controversy surrounding the photo, but she did respond to critics of ?13 Reasons Why? back in April and stood behind how the series handled these difficult issues. 

?I believed in the project for so long and I understood what the message was,? she said. ?I just wanted it to come across in a way that kids would be frightened, but confused ? in a way that they would talk about it because it?s something that?s happening all the time. So, I?m overwhelmed that it?s doing as well as it?s doing.?

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the

Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free,
24-hour support from the
Crisis Text Line.
Outside of the U.S., please
visit the International Association for
Suicide Prevention
for a database
of resources.

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Donald Trump’s Week Of Chaos Met With Talk Of His Removal

A bombshell report detailing President Donald Trump?s request to FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn, who had resigned from his post as national security adviser one day prior, has renewed speculation that his presidency is in peril.

Although talk of the president?s potential removal has revved up in the last few days ? following a week in which he fired Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into allegations of the administration?s ties to Russia, and revealed classified information to Russian officials ? pundits have been predicting Trump?s political demise since he declared he was running for office in 2015.

There was the moment last year when his campaign manager was charged with battery after grabbing a reporter (the charge was later dropped). Months later, the name of Trump?s new campaign manager, Paul Manafort, appeared in a secret ledger belonging to a pro-Russia party in Ukraine (Manafort resigned shortly after). And most notably, weeks before election day, a tape emerged in which Trump could be heard bragging about being able to grab women ?by the pussy,? a comment that many Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), said they couldn?t defend.

So far, Trump has survived all his scandals. But now there?s a noticeable change in tone.

Republicans didn?t even bother going on television to defend the president after the revelation that he reportedly asked Comey to drop an investigation into Flynn. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who is the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and no longer bound by the pressures of re-election, has said he?s prepared to subpoena memos Comey is said to have written following meetings with Trump. Even Trump, usually quick to respond to negative stories on Twitter, has been unusually quiet following this latest report.

David Remnick noted in The New Yorker that a charge of obstruction of justice will be complex and difficult to prove, but said Trump?s removal from office now seemed a reality.

?Discussion of Trump?s Presidency ending before his four-year term is up is no longer an oppositional fantasy,? he wrote. ?The events of these recent days­­?the Comey firing; the opera-buffa intel giveaway with the Russian delegation to the Oval Office; and now the news of the Comey memos?just may be the point of no return for a Presidency that has been a kind of emergency of chaos, incompetence, injustice, and deception from its first days.?

Ultimately I do not believe that our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office that he holds.
Ross Douthat, New York Times columnist

Ross Douthat, a conservative columnist at The New York Times, commented on the ?childishness? of Trump?s behavior over the last week. He also called for using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office, which could happen if the majority of Trump?s Cabinet said he couldn?t exercise the duties of his office and two-thirds of Congress affirmed that recommendation. 

?It is a child who blurts out classified information in order to impress distinguished visitors,? Douthat wrote. ?It is a child who asks the head of the F.B.I. why the rules cannot be suspended for his friend and ally. It is a child who does not understand the obvious consequences of his more vindictive actions ? like firing the very same man whom you had asked to potentially obstruct justice on your say-so.?

?But a child also cannot really commit ?high crimes and misdemeanors? in any usual meaning of the term,? he added. ?There will be more talk of impeachment now, more talk of a special prosecutor for the Russia business; well and good. But ultimately I do not believe that our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office that he holds.?

Writing in The Washington Post, David Ignatius compared watching the White House to watching a horror movie.

?The threat to Trump?s presidency is deepening,? he said.

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board on Tuesday wrote a scathing editorial about the president, saying he had undermined the credibility of his office.

?The portrait of an inexperienced, impulsive chief who might spill secrets to an overseas foe is one to which Mr. Trump has too often contributed,? the Journal editorial said. ?Millions of Americans recognized Mr. Trump?s flaws but decided he was a risk worth taking. They assumed, or at least hoped, that he?d rise to the occasion and the demands of the job. If he cannot, he?ll betray their hopes as his Presidency sinks before his eyes.?

But as Remnick noted, little is likely to happen until congressional Republicans sign on.

?Trump will survive until he loses the Republican Party,? he wrote. ?Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are not likely to act out of an attack of moral conscience. But at some point, and it may come soon, they will begin to feel political pressure?pressure from Republican constituents in swing states and districts; pressure on their own reputations?and their patience with Trump will run out.?

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How ‘Master Of None’ Captures The Loneliness Of Constant Connectivity

Lately, there?s been much ado about clutter. There?s too much of it; it?s everywhere! Our closets are cluttered, our newsfeeds our cluttered, our schedules are cluttered. Our dating lives are cluttered, too. How?s a young, single person supposed to navigate the cutie overload of Tinder et al, to slow down long enough to form a genuine connection?

And, if this is what life is like now ? go, go, go ? how are today?s stories to capture what it means to be a person in the world? If a story is meant to be realistic ? to mirror life as it is, rather than canting it to illuminate impurities ? can it even be entertaining anymore, or can it be nothing more than a portrait of app-fueled malaise?

Season 2 of ?Master of None? manages to answer all of these questions artfully. In its 10 30-minute episodes, creators Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang bring us to Modena, Italy, then back to New York. We?re taken on a barrage of awkward first dates, and to one family?s Thanksgiving dinner table, which evolves as decades pass. The resulting collage is a plush image of modern life, its whirlwind moments and its moments of listlessness and isolation.

The show concedes that being a young person today does mean living amid clutter. Conversations between characters stray far from their own firsthand experiences, delving instead into the cultural references that busy their lives. There?s an entire episode that is structured around disparate groups of people coming together to see a Nic Cage blockbuster, a bad-good movie with a shockingly offensive twist. The cultural touchstone is everywhere, infiltrating cab ads and moments shared between friends.

In their short book What Was the Hipster? the editors of n 1 identified pastiche as one of the hallmarks of the hipster lifestyle. Whether or not Ansari has read their take, his choice to fill his realistic show with scenes centered on TV-making, TV-watching, video game-playing and ?Friends? references makes the character?s stories feel true.

There are smaller, subtler ways in which ?Master of None? generates the stifling sensation that input is everywhere ? Dev?s mildly grating text message ringer, for example, is always going off. But the show smartly includes long, painful stretches of technological silence, too. When Dev?s phone is stolen during Season 2?s first episode, just after he?s nabbed the number of a girl he met over lunch, he suddenly notices how engrossed everyone else is in their own phone-bound lives. In one of the show?s rare moments of absurdity, there?s even a close-up of an Italian man intimately smooching his device while Dev looks on in envy.

These moments of aimlessness and longing amid a dizzying haze of information are some of the most potent of the season. After an online date turns from promising to awkward, Dev sits alone in a cab, and everything?s silent but street sounds. During a trip north of New York City to Storm King, a permanent art installation, Dev and Francesca stare out at the leaves and quietly take in the scene. (And then, Dev quips about the spot?s WiFi password.) The show makes a conscious effort to punctuate periods of technological clutter with stretches of quiet, and in that way, it recreates the ebbs and flows of modern life.

Ansari isn?t the first storyteller to try to strike this balance of quick, clever banter and real, human feeling. In 2000, the literary critic James Wood wrote a controversial essay centered on Zadie Smith?s White Teeth. ?A genre is hardening,? Wood wrote, and he continued to describe a group of authors ? including Smith, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo and David Foster Wallace ? who write what he describes as ?hysterical realism,? or realistic stories that reflect the noise of modern life without the feeling of human connections and individual struggles.  

Since Wood?s essay was written, there?ve been several commendable novels published that do manage to encompass both the quick clip of modernity and the listless lives of those caught in its grasp; Tony Tulathimutte?s Private Citizens and Tao Lin?s Taipei exemplify this type of storytelling. (It?s probably not a coincidence that both authors directly engage with life on the Internet.) But ?Master of None? might be the only show to take on these topics in a manner that doesn?t make Tinder the butt of a joke. Instead, it?s just another part of the world that Dev moves through, publicly and privately. 

In one of this season?s strongest scenes (aside from the couple of near-perfect ?bottle episodes? that have already been lovingly described elsewhere), Dev and his goofy bud Arnold are eating dinner at a world-famous restaurant, but each of them is unable to enjoy the meal, because, although they?re the only two people present, they?re separately engrossed in their own personal dramas. We as viewers know that each of them is bummed about his romantic prospects, but they each think the other is better off than themselves. That?s dramatic irony, and it?s often what engages us with a character?s struggles.

These dramas that fuel great stories may seem scarcer in a world of instant gratification; Romeo and Juliet could?ve shacked up for life, if only they had cell phones. But these little rifts between how we feel and what we say, what we hear and what we understand, are still everywhere. They?re in your perfectly lit Instagram of your runny, eggy brunch, they?re in the chipper string of emojis you send to an OK date, and they?re in the quiet Lyft trip, when you?re the only rider left.

You can be highbrow. You can be lowbrow. But can you ever just be brow? Welcome to Middlebrow, a weekly examination of pop culture. Read more here.


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China Installs Rocket Launchers On Disputed South China Sea Island

BEIJING, May 17 (Reuters) – China has installed rocket launchers on a disputed reef in the South China Sea to ward off Vietnamese military combat divers, according to a state-run newspaper, offering new details on China?s ongoing military build-up.

China has said military construction on the islands it controls in the South China Sea will be limited to necessary defensive requirements, and that it can do what it likes on its own territory.

The United States has criticized what it has called China?s militarization of its maritime outposts and stressed the need for freedom of navigation by conducting periodic air and naval patrols near them that have angered Beijing.

The state-run Defence Times newspaper, in a Tuesday report on its WeChat account, said Norinco CS/AR-1 55mm anti-frogman rocket launcher defense systems with the capability to discover, identify and attack enemy combat divers had been installed on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.

Fiery Cross Reef is administered by China but also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The report did not say when the defense system was installed, but said it was part of a response that began in May 2014, when Vietnamese divers installed large numbers of fishing nets in the Paracel Islands.

China has conducted extensive land reclamation work at Fiery Cross Reef, including building an airport, one of several Chinese-controlled features in the South China Sea where China has carried out such work.

More than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped through the South China Sea every year. Besides China?s territorial claims in the area, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

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A Very Considerate Person ‘Fixed’ Ivanka Trump’s Book Display

Almost immediately after Ivanka Trump released her new book Women Who Work: Revisiting the Rules For Success, the delightfully savage reviews arrived to greet it. The self-help tome has been described by critics as both ?witless? and ?insufferable,? ?vapid and ?very vapid,? ?a strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes? and ?a grab-bag of generic work-life advice for upper-middle-class white women.?

Apparently, a guidebook of rules for success it is not.

So it?s no surprise that a vigilante bookstore patron took it upon her- or himself to ?fix? a recent display of Women Who Work. Instead of several copies of Trump?s latest title, the new arrangement showcases a few other suggested reads underneath the banner ?Revisiting the Rules for Success.? They include Children of The Self-Absorbed, Disarming the Narcissist and Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life. 

While some online sleuths have guessed the new book display is the work of a rogue librarian, judging by the 20-percent-off sticker peeking out from beneath the carefully chosen books, all we can say is that the display appears to be located at an undisclosed Barnes & Noble. 

B&N vigilante, whoever you are: Your work has not gone unnoticed. 

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Haunting Sculpture Offers A Surreal Glimpse At The Future Of Climate Change

Those visiting the Venice this year may have noticed something unusual while passing the Ca? Sagredo Hotel: two giant hands reaching out from the murky, aquamarine waters below.

The disorienting vision is a sculpture called ?Support? by artist Lorenzo Quinn, meant to provide a daunting premonition of the potential damage caused by climate change.

?Venice is a floating art city that has inspired cultures for centuries,? the artist said, in a statement released by Halcyon Gallery. ?But to continue to do so it needs the support of our generation and future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and time decay.?

The piece takes the shape of two childlike hands, magnified to the extreme, outstretched to buttress the towering hotel ? a Venice landmark. In part, Quinn was intrigued by the idea of creating hands because they are ?considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body,? also possessing ?the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.?

Quinn constructed the massive hands in a studio off-site, then transported them via canal to the hotel. You can see parts of the lengthy construction process on Instagram. 

Two human hands forge a lasting imprint in the viewer?s mind, perfectly mimicking the potential the body parts possess in real life ? to support, to defend, to create change. The visceral image is intended to draw focus on the fragility of the environments we too often take for granted, emphasizing the power of humans to either salvage or seal their fates. 

The artist, as he explained on Instagram, ?wants to speak to the people in a clear, simple and direct way through the innocent hands of a child and it evokes a powerful message which is that united we can make a stand to curb the climate change that affects us all. We must all collectively think of how we can protect our planet and by doing that we can protect our national heritage sites.?

Almost there…

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Quinn?s ?Support? will be on view until Nov. 26.  

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Tom Hanks Thinks ‘Toy Story’ Theory About Andy’s Mom Is ‘Fantastic’

?Toy Story? conspiracists, you?ve got a friend in Tom Hanks.

The Oscar-winning actor has now heard that ?Toy Story? theory, claiming Andy?s mom was secretly Jessie?s first owner, and he thinks it?s fantastic.

The theory, which went viral after appearing on Pixar theorist Jon Negroni?s blog, all comes down to Andy?s hat.

If you look at the hat, it?s clear it?s not modeled after Woody?s, but it does look an awful lot like Jessie?s. The hat just seems to be missing the white lace that goes around it, says Negroni, but there is ?a faded mark where the white lace should be.?

The theory points out that in a ?Toy Story 2? flashback, Jessie?s previous owner, Emily, also appeared to have a Jessie-style hat, except hers had the white lace.

Other scenes in the flashback sequence make it seem like this took place well in the past. From that, fans speculate that Jessie?s previous owner grew up to be Andy?s mom. She passed down her Jessie hat to Andy, and it lost the white lace along the way. 

Mind blown? Ours, too.

HuffPost asked Hanks, who voices Woody in the ?Toy Story? movies, about the theory while chatting with him at an ACLU event in March. And, he?s into the idea.

?Sounds like a fantastic off-story, a little bit of fan knowledge to me,? said Hanks. ?And I?m sure the folks at Pixar have paid attention to it. I?m not saying such a flashback might happen in the fourth movie, but check it out.?

He added, ?Good idea.?

Hanks isn?t ?saying? a flashback will happen, but the possibility of one is looking more and more likely.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, ?Toy Story? writer Pete Docter seemed to frown upon the notion that Jessie?s first owner was Andy?s mom, but you can?t rule out that he just wants to keep ?Toy Story? secrets, you know, secret. He said:

?The interesting thing is that we?re now on ?Toy Story 4,? and still stuff that we discussed in [the original] ?Toy Story,? 20-something years ago, those ideas are still being used. So it just seems to be a very evergreen kind of story and a lot of stuff just keeps bubbling up, so it?s very interesting.? 

?Translation: We might get the answer in a later ?Toy Story? movie,? wrote ET.

Whether or not we ever find out real answers, it?s good knowing the theory is at least Hanks approved. All we gotta say is, ?Thanks, T. Hanks.?

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Twitter Explodes Over Donald Trump’s Russian #Blabbergate

Twitter went nuts after The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump discussed classified information about terrorism threats from ISIS with Russian officials in the Oval Office last week ? while he barred American journalists from the meeting.

Aghast and angry responses at #Blabbergate#TrumpLeaks and #Russia ranged from snipes about the president?s cluelessness to the very negative effect this could have on his presidency (some tweets featured images of the Titanic going down). 

Other tweeters gleefully made fun of Trump?s outrage at … leakers and at Hillary Clinton?s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, an issue that Trump made much ado about during his campaign.

Several comments were darker, with suspicions that any leaks could be a sign of deliberate collusion between Trump and the Kremlin and not merely the loose lips of someone inexperienced in politics and national security.

Tweets also blasted the Republican Party for failing to rein in its leader.

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Nancy Pelosi: Donald Trump Cannot Be ‘Casually Loose-Lipped’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday it?s a ?very serious matter? that President Donald Trump may have revealed classified information during a meeting with Russian officials.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump revealed ?code-word information? during a meeting Friday with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador at the White House. Pelosi initially responded to the report by saying Trump had ?jeopardized the security of the American people.?

During a CNN town hall Monday evening, Pelosi said Trump should not be ?casually loose-lipped? while discussing sensitive information. She argued that revealing any information to an adversary ? even things that are ?already publicly known,? as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster described what Trump told the Russians ? could ?undermine an operation that could be saving lives.?

This story is developing, check back for more updates.

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As A Queer Kid In Rural France, This Writer Was Subjected To Extreme Violence

In Hallencourt, where writer Édouard Louis grew up, the word ?violence? is seldom used. Which isn?t to say it?s a peaceful, idyllic place. There may be the ostensible benefits of the countryside; the surrounding area may be lively and green. But the town ? which, in France?s recent presidential race, favored the Trump-esque Marine Le Pen ? is marked by its gendered social values.

Louis ? born Eddy Bellegueule ? writes in his novel The End of Eddy that he was chastised and bullied for his ?affected? voice from a young age. His father and eldest brother were both drinkers and fighters. Like most men in Hallencourt, his father dropped out of high school to work at a factory, but was unable to continue his work due to an injured back. The author flatly recounts memories of his father, who would murder litters of kittens and brawl for sport. Louis, meanwhile, took pleasure in trying on women?s clothes, and devised excuses for skipping out on soccer practice.

Louis?s parents, and others in town, eventually came to accept his queerness just as they conceded the personhood of the only black person they knew in town. But acceptance came with a stipulation, a rationalization: we like you because you?re not like the others. Being not like the others meant being tough. In Hallencourt, toughness was the highest virtue. It meant doing backbreaking work. It meant, in Louis? case, not flinching when a classmate hocked a phlegmy wad of spit onto his face.

Louis is gifted at limning visceral descriptions of squalor. His want to not allow doctors to cede control of his body, and his resulting choice to spray a tetanus-blackened foot with perfume; his dust-covered and smoke-filled home, made worse by having asthma; his dad?s proclivity for fixing up old TV?s, and demanding that the family watch together in silence over dinner. The psychological insights he culls from these experiences are poignant. His mother?s tendency to declare that she?s ?not a lady,? the habit both kids and adults in town had of laughing at the pain of others, as though laughter conveyed strength of character.

Of being bullied at school, Louis writes, ?They laughed when my face began to turn purple from lack of oxygen (a natural response from working-class people, the simplicity of those who possess little and enjoy laughing, who know how to have a good time).? On the town?s rampant racism, Louis? takeaways run the risk of being facile. ?There is a will that exists, a desperate, constantly renewed effort to place some people on a level below you,? he explains plainly.

Still, the writer?s emotional tenor and clear-sightedness make this a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about class in the West, and how it weighs on the state of politics.

The bottom line

A touching story that?s artfully told, The End of Eddy will both make you want to turn away ? the descriptions of violence are that rich, and sensate ? and continue on with its frank and generous author.

Who wrote it

Édouard Louis, aka Eddy Bellegueule, is the author of two novels. Michael Lucey, the book?s translator, is a professor of French literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Who will read it

Anyone interested in the burgeoning subgenre of autofiction, or in stories about class, masculinity, and growing up queer.

What other reviewers think

Slate: ?Coming to terms with his childhood has resulted in this stark and honest image of French working class society, rendered in an authentic voice.?

Washington Post: ?What is most impressive about The End of Eddy is that its author turned himself into a man capable of creating such a vivid and honest self-portrait.?

Opening lines

?From my childhood I have no happy memories. I don?t mean to say that I never, in all those years, felt any happiness or joy. But suffering is all-consuming: it somehow gets rid of anything that doesn?t fit into its system.?

Notable passage

?The truth was that the display of all these bits of flesh was driving me crazy. I was using words like fags, fairies, queers to keep my distance from them. I used these words against the others in the hope that they would stop invading every inch of my body.?

The End of Eddy
Édouard Louis
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23.00
May 2

The Bottom Line is a weekly review combining plot description and analysis with fun tidbits about the book.

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Computer viruses can be a big pain. Not only do they damage your computer but they can also steal information. Be sure to protect against these viruses Head lice are uncomfortable and unsightly. Visit a salon to benefit from the best head lice treatment..


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Nicole Kidman Was The Taylor Swift Of The ACM Awards, But In A Really Good Way

While the rest of the world was waiting in anticipation to find out who kicked the bucket on HBO?s ?Big Little Lies,? the show?s star Nicole Kidman was way too busy living her best life at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

On Sunday, Kidman was on hand to support husband Keith Urban, who was up for an impressive seven nominations in five categories. It might have been the country star?s night, but we?d be lying if we said Kidman didn?t walk away with the big win. 

Not only did the actress learn how to clap, but she also officially unseated Taylor Swift as the guest to beat at award shows. She stole the damn show every time the camera cut to her in the audience. 

Behold some of Kidman?s best moments below. 


She clapped like a normal human being.

(You know, compared to this Oscars clap.)



She clapped some more.

She blessed us with this GIF.

She rolled deep. 

She showed Urban some love. 

She danced the house down.

And sang like it was 2001 and ?Moulin Rouge? just hit theaters. 


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Let us say you were hired as the accountant but one day, a client needs to have some orders delivered. Well, you just might find yourself doing the deliveryyelp website. While you do have a job description and a title, it is easy to find yourself performing duties that are beyond your scope of work.

Bill Maher Tears Into Donald Trump’s White House Enablers

Bill Maher has no time for President Donald Trump?s enablers.

On Friday, the ?Real Time? host skewered members of the Trump administration who ?go on TV and pretend Trump didn?t say what everybody just heard him say.?

Maher took aim in particular at White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump?s adviser Kellyanne Conway and Vice President Mike Pence

?Without these professional liars and deniers, there is no Trump,? Maher said. ?It takes a village to help a man-child stay in power.?

Check out the full segment above.

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Rep. Adam Schiff Sees Nothing In Nunes’ Secret Documents That Can’t Be Shared

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says he has now seen the same intelligence that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was given last week on the grounds of the White House ? which Nunes then presented to the White House ? and Schiff called for the information to be turned over to the congressional intelligence committees.

Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, declined to reveal any details of the information. But it wasn?t so overwhelming or sensitive that it should change the rules of procedure, he indicated. Schiff called for it to be given to the House and Senate intelligence committees to evaluate. He said he doesn?t understand why the information was provided only to Nunes, the chairman of the House committee.

The information ?should have been shared with the full committees in the first place as a part of our ordinary oversight responsibilities,? Schiff said in a statement posted Friday on Twitter.

?Nothing I could see today warranted a departure from the normal review procedures, and these materials should now be provided to the full membership of both committees. The White House has yet to explain why senior White House staff apparently shared these materials with but one member of either committee ? only for their contents to be briefed back to the White House.?

The secretive information was at the heart of a dramatic, clandestine operation that involved Nunes ducking out of an Uber ride last week at midnight to slip onto the grounds of the White House, where he was shown documents on a secure server, according to the Republican congressman. He in turn shared the information with the White House. The New York Times reported this week that Nunes initially gained access to the information with the help of White House staffers.

Nunes claimed the documents showed that Donald Trump and others may have been incidentally named in surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies that were engaged in other investigations. The information appeared to confirm a link to intelligence monitoring but apparently fell short of confirming Trump?s claim that his phones at Trump Tower in Manhattan were ?wiretapped? by President Barack Obama toward the end of the 2016 campaign.

After Nunes presented the information back to the White House, Trump said that he felt ?somewhat vindicated? over his wiretap tweets and that he was ?very grateful? for the information.

FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month that he had absolutely no information that Trump had been wiretapped. ?I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,? Comey said. Nunes also said then: ?We know there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower.?

The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding hearings on Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. The investigation by the House committee is stalled amid the controversy over Nunes? actions.

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Watch Live: #StandForRights To Support The ACLU

Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Jon Hamm, Tracy Morgan, Padma Lakshmi, Amy Poehler and more of your favorite celebrities are teaming up to entertain you during #StandForRights, a Facebook Live telethon to support the American Civil Liberties Union. The event starts at 7p Eastern on Friday, March 31.

Expect incredible performances, hilarious skits and plenty of hijinks. Best of all, it?s for a great cause. 

?[It is] the collective will and tireless actions of ?we the people? that serve as a bulwark against unconstitutional and wrong-headed policies and executive orders,? ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. ?By supporting our work through this telethon, we can fight even harder to defend the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.?

Stand for Rights is produced by Friend of a Friend Productions, in partnership with The Huffington Post, Funny Or Die and Maggie Vision.

Ready to give? Text POWER to 20222 to donate $10 to the ACLU. The ACLU will call to explain other actions you can take to help. (Terms here.You can also support ?Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU? by heading to the ACLU website

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Asian ‘Iron Fist’ Actor Who Lost Lead To White Guy Gets Major Internet Love

One particular actor in Marvel?s newly released series about a man and his mystical martial arts powers is being touted as the most kick-ass of the cast ? and he?s not the lead.

Lewis Tan, who plays Zhou Cheng in Netflix?s ?Iron Fist,? only appears in one episode. But Tan ? who lost the main role of Danny Rand to white actor Finn Jones ? has drawn a ton of praise from the interwebs for his performance. 

And though being passed over for the lead is not the most pleasant experience, Tan says the positive feedback he?s received for his role has been pretty sweet.

?There is definitely a level of vindication, but mostly I just feel inspired to keep pushing boundaries and grateful for all the love,? the actor told The Huffington Post in an email. ?Asian-American actors rarely get that type of praise and theres so much talent out there, we want to show that to the world.?

?Iron Fist? follows Danny Rand, whose plane crashes and goes missing in Asia before he eventually returns to New York City with superhuman martial arts powers.

Though the original comic storyline featured Rand as white, some critics have accused the show of whitewashing, since it still chose to cast a white actor as a martial arts expert.

It?s also been called out for perpetuating white savior narratives, with NPR?s Eric Deggans calling it a ?troubling translation in part because of how it minimizes Asian people and Asian culture? while putting a white hero on a pedestal. 

Jones defended the show?s casting in a Twitter debate with Asyiqin Haron, creative director for online community Geeks of Color, saying the series ?incorporates and celebrates actors from all different backgrounds.?

In the midst of backlash, Jones temporarily deleted his account, telling Deadline that he needed to focus on filming ?The Defenders.?

Considering the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood, many Asian viewers and actors alike found the show?s issues especially frustrating. 

Tan explained to HuffPost that the series opted for a white lead to stay true to the source material, however he admitted he felt casting an Asian actor for the part would?ve paid off. 

?Personally, I thought it would have been a risk with a huge reward ? a totally dynamic and new narrative that we haven?t seen,? Tan, who?s currently focused on creating his own series featuring a diverse cast, told HuffPost. ?There is a large group of people that want to see themselves represented as the heroes of the story and they are making their voices heard.? 

With many groups still fighting for representation on-screen, the actor stressed to HuffPost that there?s far more work to be done in terms of diversity in Hollywood. But with people are making their concerns heard on social media, and successes from movies with diverse casts like ?Get Out,? Tan is hopeful. For now, he urges fellow Asian talent to master their craft from every angle and show viewers ?why they should be paying attention.?

Most importantly, Tan says, it?s important for Asian members of the industry to show love for one another. 

?Supporting each other and keeping this discussion alive is what we need to be doing,? he said.

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Anthem sues Cigna to block termination of merger

(Reuters) – Anthem Inc said on Wednesday it filed a lawsuit to block smaller rival Cigna Corp from officially terminating their proposed $54 billion merger, a transaction already rejected by U.S. antitrust regulators.

Reuters) – Anthem Inc said on Wednesday it filed a lawsuit to block smaller rival Cigna Corp from officially terminating their proposed $54 billion merger, a transaction already rejected by U.S. antitrust regulators.

Supporting Tunisia

U.S. President Barack Obama and Tunisia's Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa speak to each other in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 4, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Larry Downing).

Following his meeting today with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, President Obama announced $500 million in new loan guarantees that….
div>U.S. President Barack Obama and Tunisia's Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa speak to each other in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 4, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Larry Downing).

Following his meeting today with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, President Obama announced $500 million in new loan guarantees that…


Phil Tseng is from California and his doodles art is quite famous. He usually finds fun with faces and food and so makes doodles with them. His amazing ideas are really inspiring.


Here’s what actually happened to a missing father and his daughter. After being missing for a long time, they showed up in Ulladullah. What the father had to say about their experience will definitely surprise you.


Phil Tseng is from California and his doodles art is quite famous. He usually finds fun with faces and food and so makes doodles with them. His amazing ideas are really inspiring.

if we

If we were to talk about a few of the things we have been going through we would have decided that it would not be best thing that we talked about our plans for the next week. We like to talk over coffee at
Cafe AuLait Oly at the beginning of the day.


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