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A Reminder That Two Southern States Still Celebrate Robert E. Lee's Birthday on MLK Day

On Monday, when the rest of the country is taking the day off in commemoration of one of America’s civil rights heroes, the denizens of two states will get a remarkable choice: You can celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., or you can celebrate that of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

In Mississippi and Alabama, those days are officially the same, and the civil rights icon and the commander of the Confederate army are celebrated jointly, as two equally noble characters of American history. In Alabama, Lee gets first billing. (Mississippi downplays Lee in official documents). The two states have celebrated Lee’s birthday since the 1800s and began celebrating King’s in 1983.

Many in those states who defend the decision to honor Lee with King do so by whitewashing Lee’s actions and beliefs. In building upon Lost Cause myths and narratives, Lee’s defenders portray him as a reluctant hero, an honorable man who only with a heavy sadness took the job out of a sense of duty to protect his beloved South. Some will insist that he despised the institution of slavery, and others will emphasize he treated his slaves humanely. The reality, though, is this: Lee led an army—an army that conducted “slave hunts” of free black Americans and massacred black Union soldiers who tried to surrender—against the United States in an uprising for the explicit purpose of maintaining the institution of slavery. And while he was not the most ardent defender of slavery (he once wrote that slavery was a “moral & political evil” but also complained it was “a greater evil to the white man” and that black people needed to be enslaved in order to become civilized), he still ordered his slaves whipped and families separated. After the war, he continued to fight against efforts to give black Americans rights.


First lady Melania flies to Florida on government jet after Trump postpones Speaker Nancy Pelosi's

Source: CNBC

First Lady Melania Trump flew to Florida on a government jet Thursday for a weekend vacation, hours after President Donald Trump dramatically postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip with other members of Congress to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, NBC confirmed, citing a law enforcement source.

President Trump cited the ongoing government shutdown as his reason for postponing Pelosi's travel plans, shortly before she and her team were scheduled to depart on a military plane.

While Pelosi was practically grounded by Trump's actions, the president's wife headed to Joint Base Andrews for her own trip on a military aircraft, NBC said.
Trump's letter, which was made public in a tweet by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did not mention Pelosi's call for him to postpone the State of the Union address, which the president has not otherwise commented on. But his letter was seen as a retaliation for her suggestion.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/17/trump-postpones-pelosis-overseas-trip-because-of-shutdown.html

Lawrence O'Donnell said tonight the jet Melania flew is identical to the jet Pelosi would have flown.

Las Vegas Police Issue Warrant for Cristiano Ronaldo DNA Sample in Connection with Reopened Rape Inv

Source: Slate/Wall Street Journal

Las Vegas authorities have issued a warrant to draw a DNA sample from Cristiano Ronaldo, the Wall Street Journal reportedThursday, as part of a recently reopened investigation into a June 2009 rape allegation against the soccer superstar. Kathryn Mayorga says Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room a decade ago and then paid her $375,000 in hush money to cover up the incident. Ronaldo, through his attorneys, confirmed that the pair had a sexual encounter, but insisted that it was consensual. “This agreement is by no means a confession of guilt,” an attorney for Ronaldo said. The warrant has been filed in the Italian court system where the Portuguese forward plays for Juventus.

The alleged rape took place after Ronaldo and Mayorga met at a nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort. The soccer star then invited Mayorga to a party in his suite, where Mayorga alleges he assaulted her. In a previous civil complaint, Mayorga says she begged him to stop and that he apologized afterward saying “he was usually a gentleman.” Mayorga immediately reported the alleged rape to police, filing a police report the same day the alleged assault took place.

Ronaldo’s DNA sample is considered important to the case because Las Vegas police found DNA on Mayorga’s dress from that night that was not her own. There is no statute of limitations on sexual assault in Nevada, so Las Vegas police are collecting evidence to pass along to the county district attorney who will ultimately decide if charges will be filed. 

Read more: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/las-vegas-police-warrant-cristiano-ronaldo-dna-sample-reopened-rape-sexual-assault-investigation.html

As Trump could have told him, hush money only works for so long...and can incriminate you.

Note: Full headline is cut off due to DU headline character limits. Here's the full headline: Las Vegas Police Issue Warrant for Cristiano Ronaldo DNA Sample in Connection with Reopened Rape Investigation

Georgia teen dies by suicide after he accidentally fatally shoots friend

The incident happened around 3:15 p.m. Monday in the suburb of Lawrenceville, about 30 miles outside of Atlanta. The Gwinnett County Police Department identified the teenagers in a tweet as Chad Carless, 17, and Devin Hodges, 15.

Hodges was showing off a handgun to a group of four friends in a makeshift shed near a home when the weapon went off and struck Carless, who was sitting next to him, police said. The three teens fled, while one called 911, the department said in a news release.

Hodges was seen by police running between two homes, the department said. He then shot and killed himself as officers were trying to find those involved, police said.


Fascism and Football: Death and Hatred in the Soccer Stadium

The fight that ensued was brutal, to say the least. Four Napoli fans suffered deep stab wounds and an Inter fan, who had been banned from entering the stadium because of disruptions at previous games, died in the hospital after an SUV allegedly driven by a Napoli fan ran over him before speeding off.

Then things got really bad, and nobody should have been surprised. The way “the beautiful game” has turned ugly reflects darker developments in a broader segment of the Italian and indeed the European body politic.

“They were radical fans who were, originally, apolitical and dedicated only to the colors of the team. In the mid 1990s however, the ultras became increasingly fascist in inspiration, introducing anti-Semitism, swastikas and overt racism into Italian grounds,” Jones told The Daily Beast. “The overt and increasing racism of the ultras is merely a reflection of the society from which they come, and which has repeatedly voted for neo-fascist political parties.”

Inside the stadium at the Napoli-Inter Milan match, the tension was high as word of the scuffle outside spread. Napoli's star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, a 27-year-old French-born man of Senegalese descent who has played for Napoli since 2014, was just warming up when thousands of Inter fans started making monkey sounds from the stands.


It is so depressing to see Pele's beautiful game descend to this.

Iraqi Lawmakers Criticize Trump Visit As Blow To Iraqi Sovereignty

Source: HuffPost/Reuters

Iraqi political and militia leaders condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, and lawmakers said a meeting between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was canceled due to a disagreement over venue.

Sabah al Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament “to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: The U.S. occupation of Iraq is over.”

Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters that the pair had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer which Abdul Mahdi declined.

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the powerful Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia said on Twitter, “Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (U.S.) military forces. And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the
ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with.”

Read more: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c242273e4b0407e907f9028

So because Trump was too chickenshit to leave the air base and meet the Iraqi Prime Minister during his visit, he insulted the Iraqis and potentially destabilized the Iraqi government.

Shitler is a human wrecking ball.

Arizona man fulfills Christmas wish list for Mexican girl who sent it by balloon

Earlier this month, Randy Heiss was hiking in Patagonia, Arizona, when he saw the ragged remains of a balloon with a note attached.

Heiss' wife translated the list and the pair identified its likely sender as a girl named Dayami.
Heiss and his wife delivered the toys to Dayami and her sister younger sister, Ximena, during the meeting. It brought him "healing joy" to see the children's happy faces, Heiss told the "Today" show.
“We lost our son nine years ago,” Heiss told KVOA. “So we don’t have grandchildren in our future and so really getting to share Christmas with kids was something that’s been missing in our lives.”


It's Officially Time To Ban Gift-Wrapping Paper

According to an August report from Sundale Research, people in the U.S. spent a total of $12.7 billion on gift wrap, including wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift bags, in 2017. What a waste. This is stuff designed to be torn into shreds and tossed away in less than 60 seconds.

Do you like decorations and artistic flourishes on your presents? Well, be selective. “If it has glitter or tape, it’s not recyclable,” Celia Ristow of Litterless told HuffPost.

Glitter-encrusted paper is especially terrible for a couple of reasons. It can’t be recycled, for one. What’s more, glitter is made from teensy pieces of plastic that not only appear in your hair weeks later but also pollute the oceans, according to National Geographic. Marine animals often ingest these little specks, and over time, collect them in their stomachs, which can be fatal.

Kellogg agreed that brown paper can be made into a beautiful wrapping option, especially when spruced up with a sprig of evergreen, a dehydrated orange slice of a stick of cinnamon (and then you have the added bonus of scented gift wrap). With this option, “you still get the feeling of getting to rip through paper,” Kellogg said, with the ability to recycle when you’re done. https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c1d5c12e4b0407e907af36c

Taliban greets Pentagon's withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan with cries of victory

Source: NBC News

“The 17-year-long struggle and sacrifices of thousands of our people finally yielded fruit," said a senior Taliban commander from Afghanistan’s Helmand province. "We proved it to the entire world that we defeated the self-proclaimed world’s lone super power."

“We are close to our destination," added the commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the group's leadership had prohibited members from talking to the media about current events. He added that all field commanders had also been told to intensify training efforts to capture four strategic provinces in the run up to the next round of talks between the U.S. and Taliban, which are expected in January.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the Taliban's claims.

The Taliban sheltered 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and was toppled soon after the 2001 attacks. Since then, the militants have been trying to unseat the U.S.-backed government in Kabul and reimpose their strict version of Shariah. Successes on the battlefield coupled with a recent intensifying efforts to reach a peace deal led by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad have boosted the movement's confidence and power.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/taliban-greets-pentagon-s-withdrawal-troops-afghanistan-cries-victory-n950811

Trump's sudden announcement (tweet) basically took away all of the Kabul government's bargaining power in the upcoming peace talks with the Taliban. Now, it will not be so much peace talks as negotiations on the terms of surrender/safe withdrawal.

Trump's incompetence and impulsiveness will continue to result in humiliation for the United States until he is out of office.

Founder of viral fundraiser for Trump's border wall has questionable news past

Source: NBC News

The Florida man behind the GoFundMe page, a triple-amputee Iraq War veteran named Brian Kolfage, spent a large portion of the fundraising campaign’s description outlining his past, including a bolded section titled “How do you know this is not a scam?”

He implored users to look up his history, pointing donors to his verified Facebook page, and saying “I'm credible and a real person.”
The fundraising page doesn’t mention Kolfage’s most recent business venture, a Facebook page titled Right Wing News and a ring of affiliate sites that frequently trafficked in conspiracy theories. In October, Right Wing News was pulled down by Facebook in a sweep of more than 559 pages that the company said were “using fake accounts… to drive traffic to their websites” or “were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”
Kolfage also ran Right Wing News’ shuttered affiliate sites including VeteranAF and FreedomDaily, which pushed false conspiracy theories, like ones claiming Hillary Clinton was secretly hiding deadly illnesses and fake voter fraud stories days before the 2016 election.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/founder-viral-fundraiser-trump-s-border-wall-has-fake-news-n950636
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