GOP lawmaker blasts Trump for quoting pastor warning of civil war over impeachment – Chris Mills Rodrigo 09/29/19 10:21 PM EDT

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) on Sunday criticized President Trump for quoting a pastor saying impeachment could trigger a “Civil War-like fracture” in the country.

I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” Kinzinger tweeted.

“I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”

Adam Kinzinger


I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. @realDonaldTrump I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant. 

Donald J. Trump


Replying to @realDonaldTrump

….If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews

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The rare rebuke from a Republican member of Congress came in response to Trump tweeting a quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress on Fox News.

“‘If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal’,” Trump tweeted.

Donald J. Trump


….Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process. They know the only Impeachable offense that President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him…..

Donald J. Trump


….If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews

33.7K people are talking about this

House Democrats opened a formal impeachment inquiry last week after details of a phone call where Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Jeffress, a Dallas-based pastor and known supporter of Trump, has a history of controversial and offensive comments.

He has reportedly made derogatory remarks about Islam, calling it “a religion that promotes pedophilia” and a “heresy from the pit of hell.”

He has also called Mormonism a “cult” that is not a true part of Christianity and said “you can’t be saved by being a Jew.” Then-Senate candidate Mitt Romney denounced Jeffress after it was announced he would take part in the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem last year.

Trump, who has railed against Democrats for starting the impeachment inquiry, enjoys a high approval rating among Republicans according to polls.

Public support from impeachment has shifted in the last week as details about his conversation with Zelensky have been made public, according to several polls, with opinions now roughly evenly split for and against Trump’s removal.

The Hill has reached out the White House for comment on Trump’s tweet.

What I learned about freedom after escaping North Korea | Ted Talks Yeonmi Park – Sep 26, 2019

“North Korea is unimaginable,” says human rights activist Yeonmi Park, who escaped the country at the age of 13. Sharing the harrowing story of her childhood, she reflects on the fragility of freedom — and shows how change can be achieved even in the world’s darkest places.

Jennifer Lopez’s body Constance Grady – By Constance Grady@constancegrady Sep 29, 2019, 8:00am EDT

Jennifer Lopez as Ramona stands beside a pole-dancing pole in order to demonstrate some moves to Destiny (Constance Wu), who is seated on the floor, in the movie “Hustlers.”
Jennifer Lopez demonstrates some moves to Constance Wu in Hustlers.
STXfilms – © Motion Picture Artwork © 2019 STX Financing, LLC.

For most of Jennifer Lopez’s career, Jennifer Lopez has been seen less as an actress or a singer or a dancer than as a body.

That’s not to say she’s bad at acting or singing or dancing, or that no one knows she’s good at them. JLo has the classic “triple threat” breakdown, and she’s won critical and commercial acclaim for her work across all three of her media. She was hugely acclaimed for her work 1997’s Selena, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. Billboard put her on their list of the greatest dance club artists of all time. She has two Grammy nominations.

But for all those accomplishments, for most of Lopez’s career, the discourse around her has been less about her body of work than it has been about her body.

“I find all 66 caramel-colored inches of Jennifer Lopez lying face down on a poolside chaise,” begins a profile of Lopez from 1998. “Her bikini top is slightly loosened, her nether regions are towel-draped, and a masseuse is kneading oil into the precipitous peaks and valleys of her formidable body. Her skin glints as if it were flecked with 24-karat gold.”

“And then there is her body,” wrote dream hampton of Lopez in Vibe in 1999. “Her butt, in particular, has overshadowed her formidable acting ability. It is written about, photographed lovingly (with her cooperation, of course). It is used as an example, in teen mags for girls and grown women’s fashion tomes, of a changing body ideal.”

Jennifer Lopez’s body has been a major cultural shorthand for ideas about sex, race, class, and gender norms for more than 20 years now. Her body in that famous green Versace gown from the 2000 Grammys red carpet led to the creation of Google Images. Directors go out of their way to center her butt in their movies.

Lopez herself has eagerly participated in the world’s focus on her body, but she’s also occasionally registered some ambivalence about it. When she was on the come up, she tended to explicitly rely on her curves to distinguish her from actresses striving after the heroin chic look that was in vogue in Hollywood at the time: in that 1998 Movieline profile, she says that she’d like to be known as “the Butt Girl,” because “that separates me from everyone else.” But by the 1999 Vibe article, she’d already started to get tired of the press’s focus on her rear. “I would love to read an article where it’s not even mentioned,” she said.

But by then it was already too late. The world’s obsession with Lopez’s body only grew. This year’s focus narrows in on the fact that at 50 years old, Jennifer Lopez still has the body to believably play a stripper and pull off an even skimpier version of her iconic Versace dress. We talk about JLo’s body so much that there is a thriving academic sub-discipline of peer-reviewed articles on the discourse about Jennifer Lopez, her body, and especially her butt.

Vanessa Friedman


20 years after she wore it first…JLo does the palm print again ⁦@Versace

Embedded video

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Hustlers, the new stripper movie in which Lopez’s performance has already started to generate Oscar buzz, is also interested in Jennifer Lopez’s body. But what makes Hustlers different — and a huge part of what makes Lopez’s performance in it so compelling — is that it’s not interested in Lopez’s body as a fetishized object. It is interested in the labor that Lopez does with her body and the capital that she produces with it.

Here’s how Hustlers started a new conversation about Jennifer Lopez’s artistry by focusing on her body as part of the work.

None of what Jennifer Lopez does in Hustlers looks easy. That’s the point.

Jennifer Lopez performs Ramona’s opening routine in Hustlers.
Barbara Nitke. 2019 STX Financing, LLC.

Lopez gets the diva entrance in Hustlers, a big, hyped-up showstopper that comes after we’ve already spent some time in the movie’s world and know what it looks like and how it works. It’s the kind of character introduction that tells us that now that we’ve gotten comfortable, we’re ready to meet the character who is the key to the way film operates. The diva is the one who sets the plot in motion, who is so charismatic that everyone else defers to them.

Lopez is playing Ramona, one of the old-guard strippers at a club where Destiny (Constance Wu) is the new girl. Before Ramona appears, we’ve already seen Destiny get the lay of the land: She’s done a little amateur spin around one of the poles and given a few dead-eyed lap dances.

But it’s clear that Destiny doesn’t fully understand how to make all of the money she needs to get out of this club. Her tips are meager, and management is ripping her off and taking away most of what little she’s earned. She doesn’t yet have the tools she needs to survive in this world.

Lopez’s Ramona does.

Ramona arrives in the world of Hustlers in a barely-there leotard, dancing to the top of the pole like she’s defying gravity while men hurl money at the stage. Within seconds, there’s so much money onstage that Ramona starts to roll in it Scrooge McDuck-style, only with a lot more thrusting; and while the men remain faceless the whole time, even when Ramona is motorboating them, the camera keeps cutting to a closeup of Destiny’s face, gazing at Ramona with awe.

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A new Senate report is the latest threat to NRA’s tax-exempt status — and maybe its survival – Catherine Kim Sep 28, 2019, 5:45pm EDT

Some experts believe if the NRA loses its tax-exempt status, it will be forced to shut down.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, former NRA president Oliver North, and the Institute for Legislative Action’s Chris Cox feature in displays at the 2019 National Rifle Association convention.
Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket/ Getty Images

Leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA) traveled to Moscow using NRA funds, according to a new Senate report, raising the question of whether the organization broke laws governing nonprofit spending. If the association did in fact break those laws, it could lose its tax-exempt status — and according to a former IRS official, without its tax-exempt status, the NRA could be forced to shut down.

The report, which was compiled by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee and released on Friday, investigates the relationship between NRA leadership and Russian nationals with Kremlin ties. Those nationals include Maria Butina, a 30-year-old Russian who was convicted last year for conspiring to act as a foreign agent. As Vox’s Andrew Prokop explained, her alleged goal was to “try to influence the Republican Party to be friendlier to Russia, by way of the NRA.”

Part of that relationship involved a 2015 trip to Russia during which Butina promised to introduce top NRA executives to powerful officials, and during which those executives were told they would be given opportunities to advance personal business interests.

The problem — aside from the fact that the NRA is accused of willingly establishing relationships with Russian nationals with close ties with the Kremlin — is that tax-exempt nonprofits aren’t allowed to use their funds for personal gain, as NPR has reported.

“This was an official trip undertaken so NRA insiders could get rich — a clear violation of the principle that tax-exempt resources should not be used for personal benefit,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement to CNN.

Republicans on the committee disagree with Wyden’s assessment. In their rebuttal to the report, Republican senators brushed off concerns of any finances violations, saying that NRA leaders who went to Russia did so to promote their personal businesses, and that only they only “concluded [the trip] with an NRA-focused goodwill purpose.” This, the Republicans argue, is “entirely normal behavior.”

Convincing its critics the Republican members of the committee are correct is an important matter for the NRA, which depends on its tax-exempt status to survive, according to some experts, like Marc Owens, the former head of the IRS’s tax-exempt organizations division. In April, Owens told the New Yorkerthat should it lose that status, the organization might cease to exist.

The report alleges the NRA and Russian actors formed improper connections

The report details a plan by Butina and Russian government official Alexander Torshin (who is now sanctioned by the US) to bring NRA leaders to Moscow to meet with officials there. According to CNN, Butina promised the visit would bring business opportunities and a potential meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2015, then NRA vice president Peter Brownell and other leaders accepted Butina’s offer; Brownell, who also owns a firearms business, was promised meetings with weapons companies that could benefit his own operations.

When the trip came under scrutiny, Brownwell and the NRA said the visit was an entirely personal one, made by NRA leaders, but not with NRA money. Brownwell’s lawyer also told the committee that the purpose of his client’s trip was strictly business and unrelated to the organization.

Despite these claims, however, the committee report maintains that the NRA was intimately involved during the trip preparation by creating “detailed itineraries, schedules, and briefing materials for the delegation, including former NRA President David Keene and then-Vice President Pete Brownell.” The report also stated that NRA funds were used to pay for some of the travel expenses. And then NRA president Allan Cors wrote to Torshin prior to the trip, promising that those chosen to attend would “represent the NRA and our five million members better than anyone else.”

Some of the money the NRA put into the trip was eventually paid back by Brownell, who sent the organization $17,000 in 2018 after concerns were floated about the visit. Still, the report maintains the NRA should have never paid anything for the trip, citing an email Brownell sent to employees at his company that stated the visit was “an opportunity to be hosted in Russia to broaden our business opportunities … to introduce our company to the governing individuals throughout Russia.”

The NRA is already facing questions about its nonprofit status at the state level

Wyden has called on the IRS to investigate the NRA and its status as a tax-exempt organization in response to the findings of his team. But he isn’t the only one scrutinizing the group’s finances.

New York Attorney General Letitia James also opened an investigation into the organization’s nonprofit status back in April, following reports of financial mismanagement. The District of Columbia’s attorney general said his office launched a similar inquiry in July, sending subpoenas to the NRA and its charitable arms to collect “financial records, payments to vendors, and payments to officers and directors.”

Both attorneys general hope to better understand “large monetary transfers, executive compensation, and the awarding of certain contracts that financial experts said could have violated laws governing nonprofits,” as Gabriela Resto-Montero has explained for Vox.

The NRA has not been able to respond to these investigations — or the Senate Finance Committee’s work — from a place of strength. As Vox’s Jane Coaston has reported, the NRA is thought to be low on funds, its accounts drained by lobbying efforts, court battles, reduced membership numbers (according to transparency organization OpenSecrets, its rolls have shrunk by 21 percent since 2016), and lately, both federal and state-level investigations. All told, gun advocacy group The Trace estimates the NRA to be roughly $43 million in debt.

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Do You Play with Your Cat? This Online Study Is for You! – Julie Hecht June 13, 2019

Dogs aren’t the only ones who can do science. The era of cat science is now

Do You Play with Your Cat? This Online Study Is for You!
Credit: Erica Leong Unsplash

You might be thinking “What’s this about cats? This is DOG Spies. A blog on the science behind the dog-human relationship.”

Yes, but…

My background is in applied animal behavior and welfare — the study of animals who find themselves under our care or management. Dogs are one such species. Cats are another. And it just so happens I live with a cat. Josh The Cat.

In the last few years, I’ve learned more about cat behavior, cognition, welfare, and relationships with people. And although more researchers are taking on cat questions — such as, is meowing a reliable way to measure personality in cats? or what kinds of scratching posts do cats prefer? — numerous questions remain, particularly when it comes to cats’ interactions with people.

A while back, I made a completely made-up chart comparing the amount of attention given to “Dog,” “Cat,” and “Dog and Cat” behavior and cognition research. While studies of companion cats are increasing, this chart is still pretty accurate, for a made-up chart.

Credit: Julie Hecht

Do you play with your cat? Join the science.

I believe the era of cat science is now. But we can’t do it without your help!

My PhD research explores our interactions with cats, particularly what cats and their people do together in the name of play. Play can mean different things for different species, and after previously studying play between people and dogs with Alexandra Horowitz, I’m now running an international, online, citizen science* project to learn how cats and their people play together. You and your cat are invited to participate!

Project: Play With Your Cat is worldwide and entirely online at Participants must be 18 or older and play with their

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Amateur pro-Trump ‘sleuths’ scramble to unmask whistleblower: ‘Your president has asked for your help’ – September 28, 2019 at 6:00 a.m. CDT

The looming battle over President Trump’s potential impeachment has sparked an online hunt in the far-right corners of the Web as self-styled Internet sleuths race to identify the anonymous person Trump has likened to a treasonous spy.

Their guesses have been scattershot, conspiratorial and often untethered from reality, spanning a wide range of such unlikely contenders as presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and Vice President Pence.

Some of the online commentators and anonymous posters said they have been spurred to action by Trump’s fury, foreshadowing the online clashes that are likely to engulf any upcoming impeachment hearings and the 2020 campaign.

“Carpet bomb the memes. Everywhere,” one anonymous poster on the message board 4chan wrote in response to one of Trump’s angry tweets about the whistleblower. “Time to rise up. Your president has asked for your help.”

The quest to identify the person who crafted the politically explosive complaint against Trump has become a fixation across the most extreme corners of such platforms as Twitter, Reddit and Gab — and has spread onto conservative news sites, radio shows and TV broadcasts.

The Washington Post obtained video of President Trump giving a private speech to U.S. diplomats on Sept. 26. (Obtained by The Washington Post)

The president’s scornful portrayal of the whistleblower shaped and stoked the online conversation throughout the week, as it descended into a case study of the Internet at its worst — frenetic, fueled by rumor and frequently racist, misogynistic and crude.

“the whistleblower is not white,” one 4chan commenter asserted Thursday, probably misreading a part of the complaint in which the whistleblower calls himself or herself a “non-White House official.” “see second set of bullet points on page 3. trump only has a handful of non white staff. I wonder who it might be.”

The hunt for the whistleblower revealed a glimpse of how polarized partisan media and the Internet have become, in which every news event becomes an opportunity for online brawlers to steer mainstream conversations and defeat the other side.

“We’re seeing all the elements of information warfare play out online during this episode,” said Peter W. Singer, a senior fellow at the think tank New America. “There’s this crowdsourced manhunt to find out who did it, and once that identity comes out, everything in their life — what they majored in in college, where they like to eat dinner, where their kids went to school — will be pulled out in the hope there is one little nugget that can be weaponized against them.”

After the complaint was made public Thursday morning, pro-Trump commenters guessed the whistleblower is Hispanic or Jewish or Arab or African American and, many were sure, a woman — though rarely did the commenters use such delicate terms. A top choice soon became Susan M. Gordon, a former deputy director of national intelligence, though others thought a more probable candidate is CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Some commenters offered names or rough demographic characteristics, while others posted photos of potential suspects. One 4chan commenter focused on former national security adviser John Bolton as a contender, posting a close-up image of his trademark bristly mustache with the words “Operation Infinite Walrus!”

The speculation gained energy at several key moments, beginning with the release of the rough transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The frenzy accelerated with the release of the complaint itself and when Trump said the whistleblower, who he suggested should be prosecuted, was “close to a spy.”

Conservative commentator Bill Mitchell, who attended Trump’s social media summit in July, replied in a tweet: “No Mr. President, that IS a spy.”

On the pro-Trump Reddit message board r/The_Donald, a commenter using a pseudonym said, “This ‘whistleblower’ needs to be put in the public spotlight, and then f—ing prosecute him/her to the fullest extent of the law.”

Another replied, “I bet the whistleblower is the fired ambassador [to Ukraine],” referring to Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career U.S. diplomat recalled abruptly in May.

The guessing game took another twist after the New York Times reported the complaint was made by a CIA officer detailed to the White House. A conservative writer, Stu Cvrk, tweeted out his guess a few hours later.

“Is This Guy The Ukraine Phone Call Whistleblower?” Cvrk tweeted, linking to a post he wrote on RedState, a conservative news and commentary site.

“A source known to me at the State Department, who will remain anonymous, tells me that everyone is pointing to Edward ‘Ned’ Price as the whistleblower who came forward with the accusation that President Trump ‘abused his office’ during a phone conversation with the Ukrainian president,” wrote Cvrk. Price is a former CIA officer who retired in 2017 and is now a political analyst for NBC News.

Price, who was more amused than upset at the claim, said it made him concerned about the development of “discourse that is just divorced from the facts.”

“It’s part of the political atmosphere that we live in now,” Price said. “People are looking for anything on which to hang their tinfoil hats.”

Cvrk, in a direct Twitter message to The Post, stood by his assessment. “You didn’t seriously think he would admit it, did you?” he wrote, adding that he was insulted by the inference “that I am a tinfoil hat guy.”

On Friday, the Washington Examiner spread word of a $50,000 reward offered by two pro-Trump political activists known for smear campaigns, who called the scandal a “national disgrace” and said they hoped identifying the whistleblower would help put “this dark chapter behind us.”

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