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Alicia Keys Says She Will Send Voice Notes To Fans After Postponing Book Tour

"Everyone’s health and safety is the #1 priority!" the singer wrote about the coronavirus pandemic.


mar 20, 21:32
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'Bachelor In Paradise' Season 4 To Resume Filming After Scandal

Bachelor Nation’s favorite summer show will return.

ABC has decided to resume filming on Season 4 of “Bachelor in Paradisefollowing the investigation into “allegations of misconduct” reportedly involving contestants DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios.

Warner Bros. announced Tuesday that their investigation concluded that no sexual assault took place and that the safety of all cast members was not harmed during filming. The studio initially suspended production of the show after a field producer filed a complaint about a seemingly nonconsensual sexual situation

Warner Bros.′ new statement reads:

“As we previously stated, we recently became aware of allegations regarding an incident on the set of Bachelor in Paradise in Mexico.  We take all such allegations seriously.  The safety, security and well-being of the cast and crew is our number one concern, and we suspended filming so that the allegations could be investigated immediately and thoroughly.  Our internal investigation, conducted with the assistance of an outside law firm, has now been completed.  Out of respect for the privacy interests of those involved, we do not intend to release the videotape of the incident.  We can say, however, that the tape does not support any charge of misconduct by a cast member.  Nor does the tape show, contrary to many press reports, that the safety of any cast member was ever in jeopardy.   Production on this season of Bachelor in Paradise will be resuming, and we plan to implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.” 

An ABC spokesperson also told HuffPost in a statement: “We appreciate the swift and complete investigation by Warner Bros. into allegations of misconduct on the set of ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’ Given their results, the series will resume production, and will air this summer on ABC.”

Last week, a contestant, who chose to remain anonymous, told People that the whole mess began last Tuesday after producers put the cast on lockdown at a resort in Mexico following news of “misconduct” on set. 

“We knew something bad had happened; there was a dark energy that came around the house,” the contestant explained. “They stopped taping anything, and we were just kind of there, waiting in limbo. We couldn’t talk to each other about what we knew. On Thursday, one of the camera guys told me that they were probably going to shut down production. I didn’t realize that it was that serious until then. I was like, ‘Wait, they’re thinking of canceling the show?’ It hadn’t even crossed my mind that they’d do that.”

The cast members then found out they’d be sent back to the U.S. amid an investigation and that their time on “Paradise” was ending. 

Now, they’re thrilled to be returning. 

“Bachelor in Paradise” brings together former contestants of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” for another shot at love.

No word yet on if Olympios or Jackson will be back.

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jun 20 17, 21:16
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These Awkward Sunburns Are A Painful Reminder To Wear Sunscreen

Summer is upon us, which means it’s time to time to lather up and do our best to avoid awkward sunburns. 

Unfortunately, some unlucky souls have already gotten their first burns of the season and are

of their hilarious (and painful-looking) results. Learn from their mistakes: 

Earlier this year, sportswriter and commentator

 went viral for a video that showed off his terrible sunburn after playing one too many games of softball. Instead of trying to cover up the burn with makeup, Campbell turned his cringe-worthy burn into a funny PSA.

”Before I start this video I’d like to take a moment to talk about a very important issue,” Campbell said. “It’s imperative to wear sunscreen when you’re outside on a sunny day. How important? Take a look at my face right now unless you want to be an idiot like me and come into work with the most ridiculous sunburn in the history of mankind. Slap that s**t on.” 

To make sure you don’t end up with burns like these poor folks, make sure to wear at least SPF 30, avoid the sun when it’s strongest (between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), reapply often and wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy. 

The HuffPost Lifestyle newsletter will make you happier and healthier, one email at a time. Sign up here.

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jun 20 17, 19:05
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This Guy's French Fry Ranking On Twitter Incited A Heated Debate

It all started innocently enough, with this one simple tweet ranking the best cuts of french fries

The Twitter user, Maurice Peebles, a deputy editor at the Bleacher Report, probably had no idea that when you talk about fries, it’s never innocent.

The type of fries you like says a lot about the type of person you are. So naturally, what ensued was a passionate debate in reaction to the offense of this subjective list.

Luckily, there was a little appreciation for the list:

Who knew the french fry ranking could get so heated?

Whatever your take on the french fry debate, we can all agree they’re great. So, go eat some fries:

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jun 8 17, 20:49
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8 Dumbledore Quotes That Can Help You Save For Retirement

Millennial fans who read through all 3,407 pages of the Harry Potter series know that Albus Dumbledore is among the greatest wizards ever. But they don’t, apparently, know how to save for retirement.

According to a Pew Charitable Trust analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data, more than two-thirds of millennials (ages 22 to 34) have failed to open a retirement savings account. If evil forces such as low salaries, high student loans and a lack of access to 401(k) plans are conspiring against your financial future, why not look to Dumbledore for some good advice?

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” says Dumbledore in “The Prisoner of Azkaban.” As this June marks the 20-year anniversary of the series’ release, what better time to faithfully reference Dumbledore ― in the form of eight of his classic quotes ― and start saving?

#1 “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” Time is the one thing that millennials have on their side that no other working generation has. Life expectancies are only rising, and the impact this has on the exponential growth of your money due to compound interest can be quite magical. For example, if at the age of 22 you put $10,000 in an account earning 8-percent interest and never add to it again, you’ll still have over $1 million by the time you turn 82.

#2: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Even if you don’t have the ability to save high dollar amounts now, you can still chose to save something. Even a “riddikulus” $25 a week earning 8-percent interest will grow to give you $466,998.79 in 45 years’ time.

#3Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” Millennials are facing a nearly pension-less future combined with uncertain government programs and benefits. There’s nothing to gain by putting this off. If your employer offers a matching 401(k) plan, then by all means take advantage of the free money. If you’re self-employed or one of the 35 percent who work for employers not offering 401(k)s, opt for an IRA or a SEP IRA. Yes, they offer the same tax advantages as a 401(k), you can still invest in stocks, and setting them up is simple.

#4 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Remember why you are saving in the first place. Think about how good it will feel to spend time with your friends or kids or grandkids without rushing off to work. Think about how good it will feel not to be a burden to your family.

#5 “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Yes, there will be hard days. You will be tempted to take that extra $25 and give in, go out and throw caution to the wind. Next time you’re faced with that decision, remember what you are choosing and why.

#6 “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” On the other hand, don’t make yourself crazy. Figure out how to do both ― save for retirement and live your life.

#7 “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” As millennials, you have officially become the nation’s largest demographic at 83.1 million, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report. The financial industry is desperate to serve you. The data-heavy white paper Millennials + Money generated by Facebook found that even though millennials are underinvested, 86 percent say they value saving. If lack of knowledge is stopping you, ask for help.

#8 “People find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.” While it might be hard to stomach the advice of all the well-meaning people imploring you to save, saving is still the right thing to do. Whether you get with a good advisor or take a more do-it-yourself approach, what matters is that you do what you can, or as Dumbledore says, “fight and fight again, and keep fighting.”

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jun 6 17, 23:10
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Mom's Devastating Facebook Post Shows Why Car Seat Safety Matters

Car seat safety can be a frustrating topic for many parents, but it’s an important one.

A recent report published in The Journal of Pediatrics showed that 43 percent of kids killed in car accidents aren’t properly restrained.  

On May 29, Christine Miller of the vlog Growing Humans shared a devastating story that underscores the importance of child passenger safety. 

Miller’s son Kyle died in a car accident 12 years ago to the day at the age of 3. The mom believes that her son may have survived if he had been properly restrained in a car seat with a five-point harness instead of in a booster seat.

In a post that appeared on the car seat safety Facebook page Car Seat Consultants, Miller wrote:

“Losing Kyle was like being plunged straight into hell, a pain and agony beyond description ... I’ve come to realize that this kind of loss is not something you ever get over or make peace with, it’s something you eventually learn how to contain in a box of fire inside your heart, and keep a lid on so that you can function on a day to day basis. But sometimes certain things will open that box, a song, a smell, a flash of a memory and it rages and burns through you anew. It’s a pain I will carry with me until the day I die and can finally be with my sweet son again. I think the hardest part of it all is knowing [how] easily preventable it was. That’s the dagger that twists in my heart.”

Miller said she wished someone had warned her about the dangers of using booster seats rather than five-point harness car seats for toddlers. 

“It would have saved his life. It [would] have saved me from going through hell. I would have had the past 12 years of memories with my beautiful boy, instead of 12 years of grief and pain,” she wrote.

That’s why the mom has made it her life’s mission to prevent similar tragedies. Miller shared a video about Kyle’s story to raise awareness around child passenger safety.

“Car accidents are the #1 killer of children, and statistics show that 80-90% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly!” the mom wrote. “We try to protect our kids from everything from pesticides, GMOs, sharp furniture corners and cancer, but then buckle them into unsafe car seats. This needs to change.” 

At the end of her post, Miller encouraged people who have young kids or know someone with young kids to research proper car seat usage and share their knowledge with others. 

“I’ve lost friends and family members because they were offended that I pointed out their incorrect car seat usage. But to say nothing and have another child’s death on my conscience is not something I’m willing to risk,” she explained, adding, “Children’s lives are more important than parents’ egos.”

Miller wants others to share Kyle’s story and her message about car seat safety. The Facebook post had been shared nearly 5,000 times and reached over 2,000 likes as of Monday.

The mom’s post initially appeared on the Facebook page for the Kyle David Miller Foundation ― a nonprofit organization the family started to raise awareness and offer support for parents when it comes to proper car seat usage.

For Miller, the issue is very straightforward. As she concluded in her post, “Car seat safety is not a ‘parenting choice,’ it’s a matter of physics and facts.”

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jun 5 17, 22:21
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Why 'Everything, Everything' Director Made A Film 'For Us, By Us'

Stella Meghie wants everyone to share the experience and allure of falling in love through her latest film, “Everything, Everything.”

Adapted from Nicola Yoon’s debut bestselling book of the same title, the film chronicles the love story of 18-year-old Maddy Whittier (played by Amandla Stenberg), who has spent her entire life confined in a sterile, sealed environment due to a severe combined immunodeficiency, and falls in love with her new neighbor Olly (played by Nick Robinson).

Meghie told HuffPost that she wanted the romantic drama to focus on the vulnerability of Maddy and Olly’s romance.

Of the pair’s onscren chemistry, Meghie told HuffPost: “There was that awkwardness and that innocence and that you just don’t know anything. Just like a baby walking through something. And I identified with that.”

“When you’re young and trying to feel your way through dating ― what does that feel like and what could that look like on camera? And for Maddy, her situation is extreme, but she would have the same feeling as any girl,” she added. “And so, I just thought that it was chance to show those first love jitters and what’s that like.”

The young adult novel became an instant success when it debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2015, and remained on the list for nine consecutive months.

The film marks another special occurrence in Hollywood, as black women wrote, directed and starred in the picture.

“It’s so important to have us in front and behind and at the origins of stories that represent us,” Meghie said of Hollywood’s decision to support the film. “I think the producers at MGM and Warner Bros. were behind that because they’re the ones doing the hiring.”

“It was amazing for them to option Nicola’s book. And when I met with them they understood what I could bring to it that may be someone else could not. And then obviously finding the right girl for Amandla’s role,” she added. “It was very powerful to have a story created by us and told by us, and acted by us.”

Meghie credited Yoon, who wrote the film’s script, for helping provide important context for the film from the book.

“I wanted it to pass her test for sure,” Meghie said of Yoon’s involvement. “I was like, ‘If Nicola doesn’t like the movie I probably have failed, because kids love her book. So I really would hit her up if I had questions in terms of the intention of something.”

As for Meghie’s hopes for the film’s audience, that’s fairly simple: “I hope when they leave they feel optimistic and they feel love,” she said. 

“Everything, Everything” is now playing in theaters.

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may 22 17, 21:51
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Trump Administration Hires Official Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Students

By Justin Elliott

A political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college.

Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. That includes arranging meetings with the president.

At The Citadel, five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. In one incident, a student reported waking up with Munoz on top of him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals. In another, on a trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., a student said that Munoz jumped on him in bed and he “felt jerking and bouncing on my back.”

An investigation by The Citadel later found that “certain assaults likely occurred.” A local prosecutor reviewed the case and declined to seek an indictment.

Munoz’s hiring raises questions about the Trump administration’s vetting of political appointees, which has been both slow and spotty, with multiple incidents of staff being fired only weeks into their jobs, including for disloyalty to Trump. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Munoz, a Miami native, worked as a political consultant in South Carolina after graduating from The Citadel in 2011. He was publicly reported to be under investigation the following year around the time he was working for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. Stories from that time, which outline some but not all of the allegations against Munoz, are easy to find via a simple Google search.

Details of the case, drawn from an extensive, previously unreported police case file, also raise questions about The Citadel’s response to the alleged string of assaults, according to experts in campus sexual assault. After one student reported to a school official in 2010 that Munoz had sexually assaulted him, The Citadel didn’t discipline Munoz. Instead, it gave him a warning.

Over the next year and a half, Munoz allegedly assaulted four other students. Those incidents weren’t reported until well after Munoz graduated in 2011.

Munoz referred questions to his lawyer, the prominent Charleston defense attorney Andy Savage, who denied the allegations. “I believe that certain disgruntled cadets made exaggerated claims of wrongdoing concerning Munoz’s participation in boorish behavior that was historically tacitly approved, if not encouraged, by the Institution,” Savage said. 

Upon graduation, The Citadel gave Munoz an award for “leadership, sound character and service to others.” The citation said he could “always be counted upon to help classmates who need assistance and to mentor younger cadets adjusting to life at The Citadel.”

A Citadel spokeswoman, Kim Keelor, said the committee that gave the award would not have known about the 2010 allegation because of privacy law. Keelor said of the case overall: “The college proceeded thoughtfully in addressing the reports in accordance with its policy and related processes, and with great concern for those involved and the protection of their privacy.”

When more students came forward the year after Munoz graduated, The Citadel banned him from campus and referred the case to state police, who did an extensive investigation.

When The Citadel later conducted its investigation, it interviewed complainants and witnesses and concluded in 2014 that assaults occurred “based upon a ‘preponderance of evidence,’” according to a statement from the school to ProPublica.


The Citadel is a storied public college based in Charleston, South Carolina, where students, known as cadets, get military instruction as well as traditional coursework. Many join the armed services after graduation.

Freshman are dubbed “knobs” for their shaved haircuts. They go through what the school refers to as “strict indoctrination.” They are subordinate to upperclassmen. There have been repeated hazing problems for many years, and there was a major scandal involvingsexual abuse at the school’s summer camp in the mid-2000s.

The students who accused Munoz of assaults say that he abused his power as an upperclassman and student leader.

Here is what one Citadel student told police about his encounters with Munoz in 2009 and 2010 during his freshman year:

Munoz coerced threatened and convinced me to allow inappropriate touching, grabbing, and kissing by leading me to believe it was what I needed to do to gain acceptance in the corps of cadets. He threatened to call my upperclassmen who would be upset if I did not comply with him.

The student told police he and Munoz would sometimes return to campus early and stay at the home of a Citadel professor, where “during the night Munoz would enter my room and continue the touching.”

Another student who was a freshman in 2011 traveled with Munoz, then a senior, as part of the Republican Society trip to the annual CPAC event in Washington. The student later said in a statement to police that Munoz had jumped on him two times. In one incident, after the freshman was caught with alcohol, Munoz informed the younger student that he would not be citing him for the violation, then came into the freshman’s hotel room:

I was groggy, [Munoz] jumped on me, I felt jerking and bouncing on my back, I threw my elbow up which threw him off the bed to the floor.

A third student, who met Munoz through the Republican Society, described Munoz setting up a series of meetings with him alone in Munoz’s room to talk about how to get leadership positions in campus organizations.

He instructed me to sit on his bed during these meetings. … After a few meetings he began to rub my leg with his hand. He moved his hand under my shorts and the first time I pushed his hand off my leg he said he was just playing and that he did it with his other knobs so I shouldn’t mind. I had seen this in the past and when I asked my classmates about the interaction, they said when they resisted, he yelled at them for not trusting him and Mr. Munoz made them stay longer in his room.

In another meeting, Munoz “put his other hand down my underwear until I again pushed him away, but he did not stop. He said as a new leader I had to learn to trust other leaders on the team and this was how I should show him I trusted him.” Munoz said “he read the Bible and knew what it said and I should not question his love of God. He continued to rub my leg and rub my private area. … He said this needed to stay between us and dismissed me.”

The first incident reported to the school took place in April 2009. As later recounted by a state police investigator, Munoz, then a sophomore, and a freshman were at an off-campus house watching TV and consensually spooning. The freshman later woke up in the middle of the night, “thinking he was having a wet dream, but it was Munoz on top of him with fully body contact, kissing him with his tongue in his mouth. Munoz had his left hand down [the other student’s] shorts touching his penis.”

The following year, in February 2010, the student reported that incident to a Citadel official, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Janet Shealy. The reporting student told Shealy he didn’t “want to do anything but informal,” according to her notes.

School officials set up a mediation session in which Munoz and the other student met in a conference room. In that meeting, according to Shealy’s notes, Munoz “said it was consensual and that accuser started it.” The other student left “upset,” saying that Munoz had “lied.”

Shealy and another Citadel official, Col. Christopher “Hawk” Moore, met with Munoz again to tell him there would be no disciplinary action taken. Munoz was warned and told to write a statement about what happened.

Experts on campus sexual assault questioned how The Citadel handled that initial report.

“The school has the responsibility to keep people safe on campus,” said Colby Bruno, an attorney at Victim Rights Law Center. “The school should have investigated this more thoroughly. Instead of investigation they went to this mediation.”

Bruno pointed out that the federal government’s guidance on how schools should respond to sexual assault under federal civil rights law explicitly says that even voluntary mediation is not appropriate in assault cases.

“Sexual assault is about power and control,” Bruno said. “You can’t sit two people down who have an imbalance of control and power to have a balanced mediation.”

Citadel spokeswoman Keelor said in a statement that the school’s policy on mediation differs from the federal guidance “because it was developed under the direction of the Department of Justice and the federal courts during the school’s transition to coeducation” in 1996.

Keelor said after the 2010 assault report “the college conducted an investigation.” She said the school could not give details about any specific case. But she said in a statementthat generally an “informal investigation” would include interviewing both students and providing options for support services. The statement also details how the Citadel requires sexual assault prevention classes for each year of a student’s time at the school.

Shealy, The Citadel’s sexual assault response coordinator, declined to comment.

Bruno said a thorough investigation would include speaking to potential witnesses or people who had seen Munoz or the other student soon after the alleged assault.

When more students came forward in fall 2012 — more than a year after Munoz graduated — The Citadel referred the case to the state police, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The school also sent a campus-wide email notifying students of the allegations and banned Munoz, then an alumnus, from campus.

One student said in a statement to campus police that he had come forward so long after what happened because he had heard of other incidents and “I want this school to be safe from sexual predators.”

Over the course of several months, police interviewed the five alleged victims, who said they were willing to press charges. (None of them responded to our requests for comment.) The incidents were classified variously as forcible fondling, sexual battery and simple assault.

In March 2013, the state police referred the case to the office of the Charleston County prosecutor, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson. A week after receiving the nearly 200-page case file, the prosecutor said in a letter to police that her office would not seek indictments against Munoz because “there is no probable cause that he committed a crime prosecutable in General Sessions Court.”

Wilson’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2014, according to The Citadel, Munoz requested that the school review its decision to ban him from campus. That’s when the school conducted its own investigation and found that “certain assaults likely occurred.”

Later that year, the school partially rescinded the no-trespass order, “permitting general access to public facilities and events, but no direct cadet interactions.” Asked why, the school pointed to the prosecutor’s decision not to seek indictments.

Savage, Munoz’s lawyer, said in his statement: “Steven Munoz, a graduate of the Corp with a sterling reputation for honesty, integrity and all Corp values, was used as a whipping boy in an attempt by the institution to change its shameful image shaped by its ignorance of the conduct of Skip ReVille and Michael Arpaio.” ReVilleand Arpaio were at the center of widely covered Citadel sexual assault and child abuse scandals.

At the time two of the allegations against Munoz surfaced in 2012, Savage told The Post and Courier newspaper that the allegations were not only false, but also politically motivated. Savage claimed that an unnamed Citadel employee — who was also the mother of one of the alleged victims — had released information on the allegations because she disliked Munoz’s conservative politics. Savage declined our request to provide details to substantiate his claim.

Savage also criticized the investigation of the case, saying that “several cadets complained that they were being pressured to provide misleading statements.” They were “pressured to report interactions that the cadets considered typical barracks banter as if they felt it was inappropriate,” he said.

When asked for details, Savage provided the name of one student, who Savage said was a witness, not a victim. The student is not cited as a witness in the nearly 200-page police case file, and was not immediately available for comment.

Savage also criticized the school’s investigation, saying he was not given enough time to provide witnesses or statements.

Since Munoz graduated, he has been president of a Charleston-based political consulting firm called American Southern Group, according to his LinkedIn profile. The Trump campaign paid the firm tens of thousands of dollars for “event consulting,” according to disclosure filings.

Munoz was then hired to work on Trump’s inaugural committee.

He joined the State Department on Jan. 25, a spokesperson confirmed. The agency declined to comment further.

During the Obama administration, vetting of potential political appointees like Munoz was extensive. A possible hire would be thoroughly examined by the White House Office of Presidential Personnel before being offered a job. That would include everything from a Google search to running a person’s name through criminal records and news databases.

Any significant negative media reports or criminal accusations would lead a file to be flagged for further scrutiny by White House lawyers, according to a former staffer in the office who vetted Obama appointees. Sexual assault allegations would be a serious flag. In the Obama years, candidates under consideration for jobs were passed over because of, for example, a drunk driving case or for being a registered lobbyist.

President Trump’s personnel office is being run by a former Republican Capitol Hill staffer, Johnny DeStefano. But not much is known about how the office checks the backgrounds of political appointees. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about details of its vetting process.


April 2009: Alleged assault of Student #1 occurs.

November 2009-May 2010: Alleged assaults of Student #2 occur.

February 2010: Student #1 reports assault to The Citadel.

February-March 2010: School officials meet with Munoz and Student #1 for mediation. Officials warn Munoz but take no disciplinary action.

April 2010: Alleged assault of Student #3 occurs.

February 2011: Alleged assault of Student #4 occurs.

March-April 2011: Alleged assault of Student #5 occurs.

May 2011: Munoz graduates.

September 2012: After receiving more reports of past alleged assaults, The Citadel refers case to state police. The school bans Munoz, now an alumnus, from campus.

March 2013: After an investigation of over five months, state police send case file to the office of the prosecutor, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.

March 2013: Prosecutor declines to seek indictments.

2014: Munoz requests that school review no trespass order. The Citadel “conducted an investigation, interviewing complainants and witnesses. Based upon a ‘preponderance of evidence,’ it was concluded that certain assaults likely occurred,” according to a spokesperson.

Later in 2014, the no-trespass order was partially rescinded, allowing Munoz to attend public events at the college, but limiting interactions with students.

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may 4 17, 16:20
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DOJ Lawyers Insist Laughing At Their Boss Jeff Sessions Can Be A Criminal Offense

WASHINGTON ― Laughing at the claim during a congressional hearing that Attorney General Jeff Sessions treats all Americans equally is ― in and of itself ― enough to merit a criminal charge, a Justice Department lawyer argued before a D.C. jury on Tuesday.

David Stier, a Justice Department lawyer, made the claim in closing arguments in a two-day trial of Desiree Fairooz, a 61-year-old activist associated with Code Pink. She was arrested in January when she laughed during Sessions’ confirmation hearing after another senator claimed Sessions had a long record of “treating all Americans equally.” Fairooz is on trial alongside Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, who dressed as Ku Klux Klan members and pretended to support Sessions during the hearing.

Fairooz was taken into custody by a rookie Capitol Police officer who had never made an arrest before and was covering her first congressional hearing. Stier also told the men and women deciding the case in D.C. Superior Court this was his first jury trial. (The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecutes both local and federal cases, so Superior Court is a good place for DOJ attorneys from various divisions to get trial experience, as very few federal cases ultimately go to trial.)

Stier said the case against the defendants was about them “making a scene” and intentionally taking steps to bring attention to themselves. He labeled them “professional protesters” and said Fairooz’s “loud bursts of laughter” disrupted Congress, even though the proceedings continued without interruption until Capitol Police forcibly removed her from the room. 

“A number of heads turned around because it was loud,” Stier argued. “I would submit that laughter is enough, standing alone,” to merit a charge, he said. But he then went on to highlight other actions he believed put the case over the top, such as Fairooz’s statement when she was being removed from the room that she was “going to be quiet” until she was removed, as well as holding up her sign as she was escorted out.

“Ms. Fairooz decided to not be quiet,” Stier told the jury. It wasn’t the Capitol Police, Stier told the jury, who moved her mouth or moved her lips or moved her diaphragm. Stier called the evidence against Fairooz and the other clients “absolutely overwhelming.”

Later, in a rebuttal to the defense, DOJ lawyer Jason Covert claimed Fairooz was “given multiple warnings” before her “scoff” or “burst of laughter.” 

Covert claimed that other people around her were disrupted by Fairooz’s laugh after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) claimed that Sessions’ “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law is clear, and well-documented.” (Sessions was rejected by the Senate as a federal judge because of concerns about his views on race. While he denied many of the allegations against him, he admitted to suggesting, in the 1980s, that the “fundamental legal barriers to minorities had been knocked down” and expressing concern that civil rights organizations were asking for things “beyond” what was “justified.”)

While Fairooz’s lawyer may say the laughter was minor event, Covert claimed that for “the other people around her, it wasn’t insignificant.” (A couple of the defendants’ supporters in the courtroom scoffed at that line.)

Fairooz’s attorney Samuel Bogash said his client’s laughter was “totally spontaneous” and “unintentional.” He said you could “barely” hear the laugh on the C-SPAN tape (you can listen for her laugh in the video below).

Bogash said that Fairooz was “struck” by Shelby’s claim. The U.S. Capitol Police, Bogash said, gave his client “the old United Airlines routine” and removed her from the room. Fairooz simply acted the way anyone would have if they were “yanked” out of their chair, he said.

“She’s here because she laughed,” Bogash said. “I can’t say it enough. She’s here because she laughed.”

Lenny Bianchi, one of the individuals who dressed up like a KKK member and greeted Sessions when he entered the hearing, represented himself during the trial and said he purposefully took action before the hearing began because he did not wish to interrupt or be arrested.

“For there to be a disruption, there must first be order,” Bianchi said. “Where there is no order, there can be no disruption.” 

“It was clearly not my intention to disrupt anything,” Bianchi said. “I am not guilty of the charges that have been filed against me, and what I did was for the good of the country.”

Fredrick Iverson, an attorney representing Tighe Barry, argued that the government “didn’t do their job” in proving their case, and that the defendants created a “spectacle” but not a disruption. The government couldn’t prove that the defendants intended to disrupt the proceedings, he said, and their arguments were all about confusing the jury.

In his rebuttal, Covert also said that protesting is something the defendants “do all the time.” He once again highlighted the KKK outfits to the majority-black jury, repeating lines Bianchi and Barry used and pointing out that their signs said “KKK #1” and “Go Jeffie Boy.” Nevertheless, Covert said, he was “very sure” the defendants don’t support the KKK.

Covert said all of the defendants disrupted orderly proceedings in Congress. “All three of these individuals were well beyond the line,” he said.

The jury began deliberations late Tuesday afternoon and will continue deliberating on Wednesday morning. Of possible concern for DOJ lawyers prosecuting the case: President Donald Trump received just 4.1 percent of the vote in the District of Columbia.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


may 3 17, 04:27
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Hillary Clinton Says Misogyny Played A Part In Her Loss. She's Right.

Hillary Clinton got the internet talking about misogyny ― again.

On Tuesday, Clinton agreed that hatred of women played a role in her defeat last November. Speaking at a Women for Women event in New York, she initially blamed her loss on herself, FBI Director James Comey and Russian hackers.

Did misogyny also play a role? asked journalist Christiane Amanpour.

“Yes, I do think it played a role,” Clinton said, echoing comments she’d made in April to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. She said she would go into more detail in her forthcoming book, due out in September.

Apparently, her remarks made people curious ― about the word “misogyny.” Merriam-Webster tweeted that lookups for “misogyny” jumped 10,042 percent, making the word its “#1 lookup.” It’s unclear what exactly those numbers mean. The percentage hike sounds like a lot, but it could very well have been an increase from one lookup.

Still, people are thinking about misogyny, and that’s good because misogyny, gender bias and sexism are everywhere. If we want to advance gender equality, we need to talk about this.

Clinton’s experience of sexism is singular: No other woman has ever come so close to the Oval Office. But it’s also mind-achingly universal.

“Misogyny affects women every day, often in very small and repetitive ways,” said Michelle Ryan, an organizational and social psychologist at the U.K.’s University of Exeter. “It’s often unremarkable because it is so pervasive. It becomes almost background noise. What is noteworthy about the misogyny faced by Clinton is not its content ― that is, unfortunately, oh so familiar ― but rather that it happened on such a big stage.”

Misogyny poured out in the anti-Clinton rhetoric during the campaign: All those terrible remarks, posters and chants about her looks. Donald Trump’s absurd “nasty woman” comment during a presidential debate. The fact that so many voters judged her untrustworthy for not being forthcoming about those emails while supporting her opponent, who lied with breathtaking regularity. And just imagine how Americans would have reacted to her joking about sexually assaulting men.

Women are held to different standards than men. All over corporate America, in academia, in journalism, loudly over-confident men regularly beat out better qualified women for jobs. I’ve worked with countless competent women over the years who were deemed “bitches” because they had the audacity not to smile very much while working. 

I’ve lost track of the number of people who said they just didn’t like Clinton but couldn’t express why. Part of it surely had to do with well-studied expectations about gender roles: Women are supposed to be submissive, compliant helpers. Men are leaders. And when men and women switch roles, people go a little bonkers. 

For women in leadership roles, this creates a double bind. If you act like a leader, you’ll be called out for being a bitch. If you attempt to act “nicely,” you’ll be judged an ineffectual leader.

So female CEOs and politicians and many other women walk a tightrope. Clinton endlessly sought to recalibrate her appearance, to amp up her warmth, to get people to like her.

Even in defeat, after winning the popular vote, she was extra nice. According to a Fortune magazine analysis going back to 1952, Clinton was the first losing presidential candidate to apologize in her concession speech for not winning.

To be clear, I’m not saying Clinton didn’t have other problems. She brought to the election a long record, some parts of it more admirable than others. And, of course, many voters didn’t agree with her policy positions. 

Still, the hurdle remains: Lots of Americans don’t like it when women aim for the ultimate power. Remember, Clinton was a well-liked secretary of state. She was unthreatening then ― when she reported to a man.

You could even see the bias in the reaction to Clinton’s comments on Tuesday.

“It’s completely plausible that Comey or Russia or misogyny made the difference,” Philip Rucker wrote in The Washington Post. “But ‘absolute personal responsibility’ suggests you are taking total accountability for the outcome.”

It’s unclear why “total accountability” would mean refusing to recognize the obvious.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


may 3 17, 02:24
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