Garrison Keillor: The President of Visuals (Washington Post)
Apparently, all it takes to change Trump's mind is pictures of babies.
Mark Morford: Here's the kind of senator you want, America (SF Gate)
Merkley joins Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie, the increasingly fearless CA Rep. Ted Leiu, NM's Tom Udall, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Cory Booker, Tammy Duckworth, Kirsten Gillibrand and a number of other impressive, increasingly vociferous Dems in uniting and igniting the progressive resistance to the Trump nightmare.
Alice Ollstein: "The GOP's Existential Crisis: If They Can't Pass Tax Cuts, What Can They Do?" (TPM)
If any one goal exists that could motivate fractious Republican lawmakers to come together, it should be cutting taxes.
Nosheen Iqbal: Protest photos: the power of one woman against the world (The Guardian)
The shot of Saffiyah Khan calmly staring down an EDL demonstrator in Birmingham became instantly famous. Why are images like these so transfixing?
Stuart Jeffries: 'Nice' is more than a destination: what Ryanair can teach United Airlines (The Guardian)
The budget Irish carrier had a terrible reputation for customer service until its notorious boss had a change of heart. Then the profits took off …
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Michelle in AZ
Don't read if you're eating
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Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
DADDY? WILL YOU BOMB SYRIA?
BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!
GERRY IS STILL MANDERING!
"ALL PHARAOHS MUST FALL"
BOUGHT AND PAID FOR!
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In The Chaos Household
Sunny and cooler.
As Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders takes on a more public profile with numerous appearances and a scathing critique of President Donald Trump's administration, he retained his position as the United States' most popular senator, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
His socialist outlook was appealing to a large section of society, especially the youth, earning him an approval rating of 75 percent in his home state of Vermont. The Morning Consult poll released Tuesday assessed the job performance of senators by asking over 85,000 registered voters across the country to evaluate their senators for the period between January and March 2017.
However, Sanders saw a dip in his approval over the past few months as a similar poll in September 2016 put the percentage of people approving of him at 87 percent. Along with the 12 percent fall, the liberal's disapproval was up to 21 percent in the latest poll, nine percent higher than in September.
The Senate's majority leader and Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell remained the least popular senator, according to the poll, with only 44 percent of Kentucky voters approving of him, compared to the 47 percent who disapproved. There has been some improvement in his approval ratings since September last year when only 39 percent approved of him, while 51 percent did not.
In the list of most unpopular senators, McConnell was followed by fellow Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Claire McCaskill.
UK's Daily Mail To Pay "Damages"
Britain's Daily Mail agreed on Wednesday to pay Melania Trump an undisclosed sum and issue an apology after it published an article saying the U.S. First Lady had offered "services beyond simply modeling" in her former job.
Donald Trump's wife, 46, had sued the publisher of the Daily Mail in Britain and also filed a $150 million (120 million pound) lawsuit against it in New York, claiming the article had cost her millions of dollars in potential business.
A person familiar with the situation said the settlement was worth less than $3 million, including legal costs and damages.
The Daily Mail, which runs what it calls the world's largest English-language newspaper website, apologized for the article on Wednesday and issued a retraction on its home page.
"An article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump... questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modeling," publisher Associated Newspapers said.
The Patriarchy Speaks
The sculptor of Wall Street's "Charging Bull" statue on Wednesday demanded the removal of the "Fearless Girl" statue that's faced off against the bull since last month.
Arturo Di Modica said his 11-foot-tall bull is supposed to represent "freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love" but "Fearless Girl" has turned his work's message into something negative.
The girl is right in front doing this, 'Now I'm here, what are you going to do?'" Di Modica complained.
An attorney for Di Modica, Norman Siegel, said the 4-foot-tall bronze girl was created as part of an advertising campaign for Boston-based investment firm State Street Global Advisors and its placement opposite the bull exploits the earlier sculpture for commercial gain and negates its positive message.
"The placement of the statue of the young girl in opposition to 'Charging Bull' has undermined the integrity and modified the 'Charging Bull'" Siegel said. "The 'Charging Bull' no longer carries a positive, optimistic message. Rather it has been transformed into a negative force and a threat."
Suing Warner Bros.
In the 1993 science-fiction film Demolition Man, Sylvester Stallone's character is brought out of a decades-long state of cryopreservation to pursue a nemesis. The actor himself has now wakened from a slumber of a different kind to take on Warner Bros. over its accounting of profits on the film.
On Wednesday, through his loan-out company Rogue Marble, Stallone filed contract and fraud claims against the studio. In a complaint lodged in Los Angeles Superior Court, he alleges that the participation statement doesn't make sense while demanding a fuller accounting on Demolition Man, which also starred Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock. The film made about $58 million upon its theatrical release and much more in home video sales.
In taking on Warner Bros., Stallone is fighting the same studio that distributed 2015's Creed, which earned him an Oscar nomination. But the 70-year-old actor believes the time is right and is making a stab at doing something about "Hollywood Accounting" with the stated intention of helping others in the creative community.
The motion picture studios are notoriously greedy," states the complaint. "This one involves outright and obviously intentional dishonesty perpetrated against an international iconic talent. Here, WB decided it just wasn't going to account to Rogue Marble on the Film. WB just sat on the money owed to Rogue Marble for years and told itself, without any justification, that Rogue Marble was not owed any profits. When a representative of Rogue Marble asked for an accounting, WB balked and then sent a bogus letter asserting the Film was $66,926,628 unrecouped. When challenged about thisaccounting, it made a double-talk excuse, then prepared an actual profit participation statement for the same reporting period, and sent a check for $2,820,000 because the Film had in fact recouped its deficit."
Allowing Guns In Its Capitol
Iowa is set to become the latest state to allow gun owners to keep firearms at their side while visiting the state Capitol, a move that has raised questions about how security workers would deal with armed visitors.
When Republican Gov. Terry Branstad (R-NRA Fluffer) signs the measure Thursday as part of a wide-ranging gun bill, it will mirror similar activity at statehouses around the U.S. in recent years.
Under the provision approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature, any U.S. resident with a valid weapons permit could bring a concealed handgun into the Iowa Capitol. About 275,000 people in Iowa have such a permit.
The provision would require building security staff to resolve staffing and training issues before it takes effect July 1.
The current setup has visitors passing through metal detectors at the building's two basement entrances, which are staffed by unarmed security guards. Armed state troopers also staff the Capitol and building grounds, though their locations and hours aren't disclosed.
Legislators in the nation's largest conservative state of Texas sought Tuesday to chip away at the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, voting to let county judges and other elected officials recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses if they have personal religious objections.
The bill won preliminary approval in the Senate 21-10, with full Republican support and all but one Democrat opposing it. A final vote, expected to come Wednesday, sends it to the state House.
Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature only meets every two years, meaning state lawmakers weren't able to respond to the high court's June 2015 gay marriage decision until now. Should the bill become law, however, it will almost certainly be challenged as unconstitutional by federal lawsuits.
"If we don't do this, we are discriminating against people of faith," said the sponsor, Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Republican from Granbury about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. He was referring to clerks, judges, justices of the peace and other elected officials empowered to issue marriage licenses in Texas' 254 counties.
"The Texas Senate today said it has no problem with public officials picking and choosing which taxpayers they will serve," Kathy Miller, president of the progressive activist group the Texas Freedom Network, said in a statement. "This bill opens the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination against virtually anyone who doesn't meet a public official's personal moral standards."
Promised Regulators Ticketed Passengers Are Guaranteed Seats
Less than three years before a passenger was forcibly removed from one of its aircrafts, United Airlines assured federal regulators that all ticketed passengers are guaranteed seats on flights. The promise was delivered in federal filings reviewed by International Business Times.
In September 2014 comments to federal officials, the Chicago-based airline outlined its opposition to proposed rules that sought more disclosure of the fees airlines charge to customers. One of the rules at issue was designed to compel airlines to more explicitly disclose fees charged for reserving specific seats.
Including advance-seat-assignment charges among the 'basic ancillary service' fees that must be disclosed as part of initial fare displays makes no sense," the airline wrote to the Department of Transportation. "Every ticket, of course, guarantees a passenger a seat on the plane, with no additional mandatory seat-assignment charges."
Later in the filing, United Airlines expanded on its promise to regulators that it guarantees every ticketed passenger a seat.
Importantly, every passenger who buys a ticket on a United flight or a flight on any of United's partners or competitors in the United States will be assigned a seat at no additional charge (though in some cases this will still happen at the gate)," the airline wrote. "Therefore, the rule does not need to prescribe how carriers must disclose charges concerning advance seat assignments because passengers need not purchase this service to receive a seat assignment."
Again Hit by Severe Coral Bleaching
Great Barrier Reef
Two-thirds of the length of the Great Barrier Reef is suffering from bleaching, a condition likely to cause mass coral die-offs.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) announced yesterday (April 10) that 900 miles (1,500 kilometers) of reef have bleached in 2017, meaning the symbiotic (and often colorful) algae within the coral's tissues are expelled. The most severe impacts were seen on the middle third of the reef's length; the entire reef stretches for 1,430 miles (2,300 km) off northeastern Australia.
Bleaching doesn't necessarily kill corals outright, but leaves them crippled in their ability to get enough nutrients to survive. The algae within the corals, called zooxanthellae, provide the corals with crucial nutrients and help the corals remove waste. Without them, the corals are more vulnerable to disease. If the algae are unable to recolonize the corals, the corals are also vulnerable to starvation.
"This is the fourth time the Great Barrier Reef has bleached severely - in 1998, 2002, 2016 and now in 2017," James Kerry, a marine biologist with the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said in a statement. "Bleached corals are not necessarily dead corals, but in the severe central region we anticipate high levels of coral loss."
In 2016, aerial surveys conducted by the ARC Center of Excellence revealed the most severe bleaching on record at the time. That bleaching event was partially spurred by El Niño, which brings warm water to reefs. High temperatures are a major source of stress for corals, which respond by expelling their algae, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During last year's bleaching event, scientists found some hope in that the lower two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef had not been badly affected, and said that the bleached areas might bounce back.
Great Barrier Reef
Piece Together First Image Of Black Hole
After training a network of telescopes stretching from Hawaii to Antarctica to Spain at the heart of our galaxy for five nights running, astronomers said Wednesday they may have snapped the first-ever picture of a black hole.
It will take months to develop the image, but if scientists succeed the results may help peel back mysteries about what the universe is made of and how it came into being.
"Instead of building a telescope so big that it would probably collapse under its own weight, we combined eight observatories like the pieces of a giant mirror," said Michael Bremer, an astronomer at the International Research Institute for Radio Astronomy (IRAM) and a project manager for the Event Horizon Telescope.
The targeted supermassive black hole is hidden in plain sight, lurking in the centre of the Milky Way in a region called the Sagittarius constellation, some 26,000 light years from Earth.
Dubbed Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short), the gravity- and light-sucking monster weighs as much as four million Suns.
Hollywood is mourning the passing of Charlie Murphy, a gifted comedian who died of leukemia Wednesday at age 57. His younger brother Eddie Murphy has yet to make a statement, but the two were very close.
Of course, Charlie was famous in his own right, starring on and writing for "Chappelle's Show." Charlie was also slated to appear on the upcoming season of "Power" on Starz.
In a 2009 interview with Essence, Charlie spoke about his relationship with Eddie.
"I've never felt like I was living in anyone's shadow," the elder Murphy said. "My life was what it was. I was always proud of my brother. He helped me tremendously, but we're family so we were never in his shadow."
Charlie was Eddie's only sibling. He's survived by three children; two with his wife Tisha, who sadly died of cervical cancer in 2009.