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Hometown: California
Member since: Tue Feb 27, 2018, 10:32 PM
Number of posts: 30,526

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Lobbyist helped arrange Scott Pruitt's $100,000 trip to Morocco

MARRAKESH, Morocco — A controversial trip to Morocco by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt last December was partly arranged by a longtime friend and lobbyist, who accompanied Pruitt and his entourage at multiple stops and served as an informal liaison at both official and social events during the visit.

Richard Smotkin, a former Comcast lobbyist who has known the EPA administrator for years, worked for months with Pruitt’s aides to hammer out logistics, according to four individuals familiar with those preparations. In April, Smotkin won a $40,000-a-month contract, retroactive to Jan. 1, with the Moroccan government to promote the kingdom’s cultural and economic interests. He recently registered as a foreign agent representing that government.

The four-day journey has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers and the EPA inspector general, who is investigating its high costs and whether it adhered to the agency’s mission to “protect human health and the environment.”

Information obtained by The Washington Post shows the visit’s cost exceeded $100,000, more than twice what has been previously reported — including $16,217 for Pruitt’s Delta airfare and $494 for him to spend one night at a luxury hotel in Paris. He was accompanied by eight staffers and his round-the-clock security detail.

Smotkin’s role in arranging the whirlwind visit was highly unusual, ethics experts say, and raises many questions. Federal laws prohibit public officials from using government resources to financially benefit friends, relatives or other people with whom they have personal connections.

Posted by Demovictory9 | Tue May 1, 2018, 07:44 PM (2 replies)

Teen wears vintage cheongsam to prom. Elicits strong reaction. "My culture is NOT your Prom dress"

Daum decided to browse a vintage store in downtown Salt Lake City, where she came across a red cheongsam, also known as a qipao — the high-collared, form-fitting traditional Chinese dress.


“I thought it was absolutely beautiful,” said Daum, who is not Chinese. She appreciated its high neckline, a difficult trait to find in many prom dresses. The dress, she said, “really gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for other cultures and their beauty.”

On a Sunday after the dance last month, like many other social media-savvy high schoolers, she posted a photo in her dress alongside her friends. “PROM,” she wrote.

She had no idea it would elicit such a response.

“My culture is NOT your …. prom dress,” a man named Jeremy Lam tweeted days later, sharing the photos she posted.

“I’m proud of my culture, including the extreme barriers marginalized people within that culture have had to overcome those obstacles,” Lam also wrote. “For it to simply be subject to American consumerism and cater to a white audience, is parallel to colonial ideology.”


Catholic School has "modesty ponchos" ready for prom night

Catholic high school announces it will hand out 'modesty PONCHOS' on prom night to girls whose dresses are deemed too revealing
Students at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan, will be handed 'modesty ponchos' if their dresses are deemed inappropriate
The ponchos, some of which have bright colors and patterns, have been displayed inside the school with a note explaining their use to students
'If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements—no problem! We've got you covered—literally,' a note attached to the ponchos reads
Mary Pat O'Malley, the theology teacher who came up with the idea, said the ponchos were meant as a 'deterrent' to prompt students to obey the dress code
But one parent said the ponchos are 'a method of shaming, a method of bullying' and 'a method of degrading females'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5678687/Catholic-high-school-plans-hand-modesty-ponchos-prom.html#ixzz5EHYJAjKT

The steep price of the Trumpian circus

One of the many costs of the Trump era is the dumbing down of our political discourse. The incoherent spoken and tweeted outpourings from President Trump and the daily outrages of his administration leave little time for serious debate about policy or meaningful dialogue about our larger purposes.

In a normal environment, the Republican Congress’s assault on food-stamp recipients, the administration’s waivers allowing states to erode Medicaid coverage, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed rent increases for some of the country’s poorest people would be front and center in the news.

$$$$$ .

Nothing is significant for long, everything is episodic, and old scandals are regularly knocked out of the headlines by new ones. It’s a truly novel approach to damage control.

And governing? It seems almost beside the point. Thus does the unraveling of regulatory protections for workers, the environment and the users of financial services rush forward with little notice.

This is where the Trumpian circus benefits the Trumpian project. If there are too many scandals for any one of them to seize our attention for long, all of them taken together allow what are potentially very unpopular policies to take root without much scrutiny.


He was refused use of a pizza coupon. Then his white friend tried...


Alexander said he handed the coupon to an employee of the Hunter Hill Road restaurant, and she went to consult an assistant manager.

"He looks at the card. He looks at me. He was like, 'So where did you get the card from?'" Alexander told WRAL on April 26. He said he got the coupon from his pastor. He wrote about his experience on Facebook and posted a photo of the coupon.

he coupon read: "Present this card at any participating Pizza Inn location." The coupon also had a signature written on a line that read "Presented by."

Alexander said the assistant manager told him the signature had to belong to the restaurant's manager or the district manager, and it did not.

Alexander said he left the restaurant after being told he could not use the coupon.

"To go through an interrogation just for a $7.99, $8.99 buffet?" Alexander told WRAL. "It just doesn't make sense that I had to go through that."

Hours later, Casey took the same coupon to the same restaurant.


Trump Administration Seeks To Bar Immigrants with Disabilities

The Trump administration is moving to make it more difficult for immigrants with disabilities and their families to get a visa or attain permanent residency in the United States.

A proposal from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, would alter how immigrants are evaluated as they seek the right to permanent residency — the step before citizenship. The use, or potential use, of public services by immigrants or their family members are considered “heavily weighted negative factors” in the draft document.

Some of the examples cited as negatives include high-cost medical conditions and many uses of social services, like food assistance, Medicaid, unemployment and disability benefits. The category “mental disorders” is on a list of the five most expensive health conditions contained in the draft regulations.


“People are very scared,” said Michelle Garcia, the Latino community organizer for Access Living, a Chicago-based disability advocacy organization. “They’re scared of going to a hospital or getting support and services” because it may negatively impact their immigration status.

Garcia said she works with immigrant clients who have children with disabilities who are American citizens. However, they’re not seeking services for their children, out of fear it could lead to their own deportation or count against them in their efforts to stay in the country.


another group loses Temporary Protected Status and must leave the US: Nepali


Thousands of Nepali immigrants lose special residency protections, must leave U.S.

The Trump administration is ramping up efforts to get rid of programs that provide temporary residency permits for immigrants from countries ravaged by natural and human catastrophes.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced its decision to terminate protections granted to Nepali immigrants after a massive earthquake devastated their country in 2015.

The move follows similar cancellations of temporary protections for immigrants from other countries hit by natural disasters or violent conflicts, including El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.

The Temporary Protected Status program was created by Congress in 1990 to avoid sending foreigners back to nations destabilized by natural disasters, armed conflict and other calamities. Admission into the TPS program shields immigrants from deportation, grants them a work permit and allows them to travel outside the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security terminated the TPS designation for Nepal following a review, required by law, that concluded the South Asian country has recovered sufficiently to accommodate the return of its citizens living in the United States. The protections for Nepali immigrants ends June 24, 2019, a grace period designed to allow an orderly transition.


GOP said Obama wasn't born in America for 8 years. I dont give a crap about how Huckabee feels

when she's called out about her lying press conferences.


Kaivan Shroff

Follow Follow @KaivanShroff
If you’re more upset about a comedian teasing Sarah Huckabee Sanders about her makeup because it’s “making fun of appearance” than by 8 years of the GOP saying Obama was from Kenya “because of appearance,” YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. #WHCD

8:39 PM - 28 Apr 2018

Dolphin bodychecks paddleboarder

“One of them for some reason decided to jump out of the water, took me out quite well with a fairly legal hip and shoulder I think,” Andrew Hill, 54, explained. “And hats off to him, he connected with me really well.”


Sarah Sanders huckabee prays/reads devotional before she comes before the press/America to lie


The Puzzle of Sarah Huckabee Sanders
How a bright, competent and likable young operative became the face of the most duplicitous press operation in White House history.


Some reporters will outright call Sanders a liar. Others are more reluctant to break out the L-word but still become frustrated at the way she regularly obfuscates and bends the truth. Whereas Spicer was known for big blowups, reporters say that with Sanders it feels more like a million small things. “There’s almost sometimes an exhaustion writing the stories of the daily briefing because the number of things she says that are patently false are too many to let your story be weighed down with them,” one White House reporter says.

Here is a highly incomplete list of Sanders’ misadventures with the truth:

August 2, 2017: Said Trump didn’t lie when he claimed the Mexican president called to praise his immigration policies, or when he said leaders from the Boy Scouts of America called to praise a speech he gave at the National Scout Jamboree. (Neither call had occurred.)
November 1, 2017: Said immigrants entering the United States on diversity visas aren’t vetted. (They are.)
November 2, 2017: Denied that Trump called the U.S. justice system “a joke.” (Hours earlier, Trump said of the justice system, “What we have right now, it’s a joke and it’s a laughingstock.”)
February 20, 2018: Said, “The president hasn’t said that Russia didn’t meddle.” (He has.)
March 27, 2018: Said there has been a citizenship question “included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010, when it was removed.” (No citizenship question has appeared on the full census form since 1950.)

Sanders declined to comment for this article. But both her husband and father say that any characterization of her as a liar is unfair. “All I know is that Sarah is never going to do anything that violates her conscience,” Bryan Sanders says. “She’s never been asked to do something that violates her conscience.”

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