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Ready or Not, Blockchain-Based Mobile Voting Is Getting Closer


Some voters in Provo and other Utah County cities will be able to cast ballots on a blockchain-powered mobile app in a pilot program for the August election.
'This election season, the option to vote remotely via blockchain is coming to overseas voters from nine new U.S. cities. West Virginia became the first state to pilot the technology last year, with Denver following in May as the first city. In this August’s local elections, far-flung voters from Utah County, home to the city of Provo, will be able to log their votes on a mobile application, too. At its core, the technology is meant to make voting easier and increase primary turnout, which is historically lower than that of general elections. About 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots for in midterm House of Representatives races last year—a huge leap from 2014’s turnout rate of 13.7 percent. “Given that the average primary turnout is 12 to 15 percent, 12 to 15 percent of people dictate most of our policies on the left or the right,” said Bradley Tusk, the startup-consultant-turned-philanthropist who is supporting the pilots, which are administered by the Boston-based technology company Voatz. “How do you get turnout to 60 or 70 percent?” In his work in 2011 as an early-stage Uber consultant, Tusk thinks he found one answer: Let people vote on their phones. When Uber wanted cities to legalize ridehailing, the company asked riders and drivers to indicate their support via texts and online petitions. They did, in vast numbers, and the rest is history. “If you want to change the outputs, you’ve got to change the inputs,” Tusk said. “Everybody has technology in their pocket.” Tusk Philanthropies—funded in part by the equity Tusk was given by Uber as payment for that consulting work—has covered the costs of administering and auditing each Voatz election so far. When Utah County, population 60,000, presented its proposal to the state to be the next Voatz site, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox said he was intrigued. With its significant population of internationally based military officers and missionaries who vote absentee, Utah has long been interested in online voting, but hadn’t cracked the key to doing it securely. “You have to guarantee a private vote, and people have to be able to vote anonymously and that, by definition, makes it impossible to audit,” said Cox. “It’s not that someone actually has to hack an election. They just have to claim they did, and if you can’t claim otherwise, you’ve undermined the foundation of our democratic republic.” Blockchain could unlock that potential by serving as an online database of transactions—in this case, votes—that are stored securely online. By logging the votes multiple times on multiple machines across what’s called a “distributed ledger,” election officials are able to verify that the votes haven’t been altered without having to tie the vote back to the voter. “The purpose of doing this trial is to have a small, controlled group that we can monitor very closely, so we can ensure the integrity of the election,” said Cox. “We think we’ll see a significant increase in returned ballots.” In Utah County, 84 voters are eligible to vote overseas county-wide, and 53 of them are in jurisdictions with municipal elections this August. They’ll vote in local races in the cities of Eagle Mountain, Highland, Lehi, Mapleton, Orem, Pleasant Grove, Santaquin, and Springville, as well as for two city council seats in Provo. Upon its launch last year, this experiment in digital democracy was received with a healthy dose of skepticism from cybersecurity experts and blockchain detractors. In The New Yorker, Sue Halpern summed up the spectrum of reactions to Tusk’s moonshot : It’s “either visionary or preposterous.” Voatz was ridiculed as “the Theranos of voting.” Mobile voting isn’t without precedent. In Moscow, Estonia , and the Japanese city of Tsukuba , citizens can vote online for certain policies and municipal projects. And early results from West Virginia and Denver’s pilots seem to indicate that American voters have been impressed with the process. After a small trial run of 13 voters, West Virginia expanded mobile voting for its November 2018 general election, during which 144 voters deployed in 30 different international countries cast their ballots through Voatz. In Denver, more than 100 voters opted in. According to a post-election survey administered by the Denver Elections Division, 100 percent of respondents who used Voatz preferred the mobile method over faxed, emailed, or snail-mailed ballots. When asked to rank how secure they felt their submissions were, the average rating was close to a nine. Most striking was the change in turnout among overseas voters: Since Denver’s 2015 election, it had doubled. If expanding access and convenience are the primary goals, there’s evidence that Voatz delivers. But the concerns over security remain. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology , criticized the project when it launched in West Virginia, telling CNN that logging ballots through voters’ “horribly secured” personal devices and networks makes the app a hackers’ dream. (In a statement, Voatz said it installs technology that detects and rejects corrupted phones.) Hall’s assessment hasn’t changed since. “[T]his is an unfortunate distraction in election cybersecurity when we should be spending time on much more mundane but serious issues,” Hall told CityLab in an email. “Blockchain voting from Tusk or Voatz will do nothing to address the very real threats the 2020 election cycle faces … and I fear that it can only introduce more sources of vulnerabilities that only apply to some of the hardest-to-serve voters that are overseas.” David Dill, a computer science professor emeritus at Stanford University, doesn’t think building a truly secure online voting network is impossible—but it would be unprecedented. “What they’re up against is basically 20 years of all of the top computer scientists in the country—and in some other countries—saying that the technology does not exist to solve this problem,” he said. While Hall point to the threat of third-party interference, Dill raises another issue: trusting a private company to administer an election. “How do you know that your vote wasn’t reported to somebody else or to the company before your name was removed from it?” he said. The problem is “making sure the ballot doesn’t get changed … in between the voter’s fingers and when it gets counted.” Tusk emphasizes that voters can personally audit their votes by making sure the ballot they cast matches the one on a printed digital receipt coded with a unique, anonymous voter ID. Four independent security audits were conducted during the West Virginia and Denver pilots, and no interference or corruption was detected. “Compared to the way we currently vote, this approach is exponentially safer,” Tusk Philanthropies said in a statement. To verify the voter’s identities, the app gathers fingerprint and face scans; the latter images are then run through facial recognition software and cross-referenced with a picture of the voter’s driver’s license. This facial recognition dimension opens up its own can of worms: The technology has been banned in three cities and awaits judgement in many others. Civil rights advocates have criticized its potential to introduce policing biases and endanger immigrant communities. So far, each jurisdiction has opted into facial recognition as the default verification method, but Tusk says others could easily ask to rely solely on fingerprint recognition or another biometric solution instead. And he insists that efforts to delegitimize the concept of mobile voting obscure the broader goal of making democracy work for everyone. “When they suppress black voters in the South, they don’t say it’s because they don’t want people who are black to vote,” he said. “They say, ‘Elections aren’t secure.’” After Utah County, Tusk hopes to partner with five or six more jurisdictions in time for the 2020 primaries and expanding the base of eligible voters, depending on local needs. One pool of potential new users: voters who are visually impaired. Or voters in rural areas who must travel long distances to the nearest polling location—an issue of growing concern in rural parts of states like Georgia, which has been consolidating and closing voting precincts in predominantly African American counties. The idea, he says, is not necessarily to deploy Voatz nationwide, but to help ignite a digital-voting movement that boosts political participation. “I’m doing this because … I don’t see how democracy in the country survives if we fundamentally can’t resolve any difficult issue,” he said. “There’s just not the popular will to resolve any of it, because the popular will doesn’t manifest in primaries, which is where it really matters.”'

Hard to believe Patriots standing pat at left tackle

Traffic Boston Herald

Even when all seems lost with the Patriots, they find a way to get it done. Last season’s dominant, 13-3 Super Bowl LIII victory over the Rams proved as much in a season in which the Pats went 3-5 on the road in the regular season. Discounting 2008,
'Even when all seems lost with the Patriots, they find a way to get it done. Last season’s dominant, 13-3 Super Bowl LIII victory over the Rams proved as much in a season in which the Pats went 3-5 on the road in the regular season. Discounting 2008, when Tom Brady was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered in the first game, the Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 15 seasons in a row. Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who went 11-5 and outscored the opposition by an average of 25.3 points in the final three weeks of the regular season with Matt Cassel at quarterback in 2008, have won six Super Bowls and counting together. Given all that, it becomes easy to shrug off that ESPN.com ranked the Patriots dead last on a list of the NFL’s most improved teams from last season. It’s even reasonable to seek comfort by embracing “the Patriots always find a way” in dealing with the retirement of tight end-turned-beanpole Rob Gronkowski, even though replacement Ben Watson will sit out the first four games serving a suspension for taking testosterone to heal his body from a playing career he thought had ended. Sony Michel’s knee remains a concern, but depth at running back received a boost when the Pats selected Alabama’s Damien Harris in the third round of the NFL draft. Julian Edelman’s thumb injury? It won’t prevent him from staying in prime physical condition and doesn’t have anything to do with his superior knowledge of the offense and seamless chemistry with Brady. It comes at a position that didn’t need another question mark, but even so, it’s not enough to rock the confidence boat. High turnover on the defensive coaching staff doesn’t rank as a major concern either because Belichick knows how to coach his coaches, so the loaded defense figures to improve as the season progresses. A big loss at tight end, a shallow wide receiver group, an almost entirely new defensive coaching staff, that’s a lot of worries to shrug off, but these are the Patriots and they do always seem to find a way. Even so, all those concerns combined don’t match the absence of the one 363-pound Raider no longer in the room. Trent Brown amounted to the steal of the season for the Patriots, who acquired him from the 49ers by doing nothing more than moving down from the 95th pick of the 2018 draft to the 143rd. At such little cost, the Patriots found themselves a replacement for Nate Solder. The perfect colliding of factors resulted in Brown having such a spectacular year he signed a four-year, $66 million free agent contract with the Raiders. Brown’s year with Patriots was a perfect fit for the team and player. The Patriots supplied Brown, who had spent most of his time on the right side, with the opportunity to show he could be a premier left tackle just in time to cash in on free agency. To cash in, he would need to get himself into the best shape of his career and put great effort into absorbing Dante Scarnecchia’s instruction. Brown was terrific in the regular season, even better in the postseason. Related Articles \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\tFive biggest questions for the Patriots entering the 2019 season\t\t \t\t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\tFive Patriots poised to take a big step forward in 2019\t\t \t\t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\tPatriots work out free agent WR Justin Hunter\t\t \t\t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t\t\tPatriots WR Julian Edelman to miss start of training camp with thumb injury\t\t \t\t\t \t The Patriots thought they had signed a potential replacement or at least depth provider in nine-year veteran Jared Veldheer. It took him one practice to realize his hip was ready for retirement. At the moment, 2018 first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn out of Georgia holds the top spot on the depth chart for the position responsible for protecting the 42-year-old quarterback’s blind side, which seems so risky given that Wynn missed the entire year with an Achilles injury. Too risky to believe the Patriots will stand pat at the position, especially with no proven players behind him. It feels as if the Patriots aren’t done dealing, and the roster with which they open training camp Thursday will be upgraded at left tackle by the time the season opens. The possibility of the Patriots dealing a cornerback in exchange for a left tackle adds a little spice to training camp as the perennial contenders try to reach their fourth consecutive Super Bowl.'

AAU Basketball: Seaside’s Finest giving local kids exposure

School and Education Monterey Herald

SEASIDE — What began as a program designed to help kids develop their basketball skills, has grown into teenagers chasing college dreams on the hardwood. Seaside’s Finest program director Jason Hieb was willing to take his lumps if young athletes
'SEASIDE — What began as a program designed to help kids develop their basketball skills, has grown into teenagers chasing college dreams on the hardwood. Seaside’s Finest program director Jason Hieb was willing to take his lumps if young athletes benefited from it. Anticipated growing pains, though, have been rare as the basketball club, which is 12  years old, has earned a reputation for being competitive and churning out future college players. “We’re not about trophies,” Hieb said. “We have done that.” Hieb says he doesn’t mind if his teams go winless in tournaments as long as they are competing at a high level and his athletes are getting an opportunity to be seen by college scouts. But teams in the Seaside’s Finest program are far from going winless. Hieb will take three teams to the Big Foot Hoops Las Vegas Classic Wednesday — arguably one of the biggest travel tournaments in the nation. All three high school age group teams Hieb is bringing will be in the top level among the three levels and 800 programs expected to take part. “It’s a sign of respect,” said Hieb, who has players from 11 different highs schools. “That is what we try and sell. That and growing as a player and person. We won a bracket here a few years back. We’ve built ourselves a reputation.” Four of the players who were on the bracket-winning team in 2015 landed scholarships to four-year schools, including Jamaree Bouyea, who is a junior at the University of San Francisco. “We believe in competition outside our boundaries,” Hieb said. “It’s the only way to get experience. Sometimes it’s a wake-up call. But we want them to get out of their comfort zone.” In the past, elite players in the county have elected to play on travel teams in the San Francisco Bay Area. The vision Heib had was to erase that stigma — that exposure for kids could come in their own backyard. “The strength of our program is our coaches,” Hieb said. “That’s why we’re in the position we are in today. We take the extra time to develop skills on the court that transfer over to real life.” Reality is also a big part of the program’s vision. Taking part in tournaments over the last few years in Washington, Georgia and Nevada give his players a realization of what the next level is. “These are NCAA certified tournaments,” Hieb said. “We’re giving local kids an opportunity to play in front of college coaches. You don’t have to be on a Bay Area travel team to get exposure.” Two weeks ago Hieb rented a pair of vans and took a group of players to Seattle for a tournament, in which guard AJ Suniga was asked by Northwest University (in Washington) to visit their campus. “That was not a planned visit,” Hieb said. “It was a viewing period for college coaches. If we do not go, he doesn’t get that invite. He made an impression in a competitive environment.” Suniga, who can play the point or knockdown jumpers on the wing, took a tour of the campus with the head coach and even played some five-on-five with players at Northwest. “It was random,” Suniga said. “I was thinking ‘Ooh wow.’ Now it has opened some doors for me. I am still processing the situation. It could open doors for other offers.” Suniga, who will be a senior this coming year at Palma, is among two players that Hieb feels will get an offer in the next two years. “What we’ve built here is a belief of developing players mentally and physically to compete against high-level competition,” Hieb said. “We’re going to get them exposure.” Seaside’s Finest took part in seven tournaments this year – none locally. There is a reason for that, according to Hieb. “We’re not trying to disrespect any of the other travel teams in the area,” Hieb said. “But the idea is to get them out of their comfort zone. We can scrimmage those teams for free.” When Hieb started the program with primarily youth teams, the objective was to better prepare them for high school. As those players have climbed the ranks, aspirations changed. “I just felt we had players in our area that could play in college,” Hieb said. “We have kids that want to put in the work. So we started going to NCAA-certified events.” Seaside’s Finest currently has five boys age group teams. “You never know who is watching,” Suniga said. “These tournaments are opportunities, for me and my teammates.” In addition to Bouyea playing at USF, Wyatt Maker is at CSU East Bay, while Jordan Graves has a scholarship to Hawaii-Hilo and Brad Sendell is at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. At one point, six players from Seaside’s Finest were playing basketball at four-year colleges — all in the last five years. “You have to give kids an opportunity and that starts with competition,” Hieb said. “It does no good to go and win small tournaments if you’re not getting better. Competition makes you better.” All three of Seaside’s Finest teams that are en route to Las Vegas are guaranteed four games, with the potential to play as many as eight through the five-day tournament. All games will be live-streamed on BallerTV.'

Mueller’s deputy to appear beside him during Wednesday’s hearings

Law and Order fox5sandiego.com

Robert Mueller's deputy Aaron Zebley is expected to appear next to Mueller as his counsel at Wednesday's hearings on the special counsel's report, according to a House Judiciary committee source.
'WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller’s deputy Aaron Zebley is expected to appear next to Mueller as his counsel at Wednesday’s hearings on the special counsel’s report, according to a House Judiciary committee source. Zebley will be there to advise Mueller, but the special counsel will be the only one answering the committee questions, the source said. Democrats only plan to swear in Mueller as a witness. Mueller made the last-minute request to have his deputy sworn in for Wednesday’s blockbuster hearings before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on the Mueller report, in case he needed to help with any questions the special counsel could not fully answer himself, according to a source familiar with the matter. Republicans on the House Judiciary committee immediately raised concerns that Democrats were making a major, last-minute change to the hearing to have Zebley to testify alongside the special counsel, less 24 hours before the hearings are scheduled to begin. The prospect that Mueller’s deputy could appear alongside the special counsel is a last-minute twist in one of the most highly anticipated hearings in years. Even if Zebley was there just as a counsel to aid Mueller, it could still change the dynamic of Mueller’s testimony Wednesday before the committees. The Justice Department objected to Zebley or any others testifying alongside Mueller because it wasn’t authorized, according to a person familiar with the matter. The department’s practice generally precludes line attorneys from testifying. But the bottom line is that Zebley and many others who were on Mueller’s staff are private citizens now, and the Justice Department cannot do much other than object. A spokesman for Mueller has not responded to requests for comment. Democrats have pushed to hear from Zebley along with another Mueller deputy, James Quarles, behind closed doors after Mueller testified. But the Department of Justice also resisted that request, and Attorney General William Barr said he would oppose a subpoena if Congress tried to compel their testimony. The committee’s top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, accused Democrats of adding “a surprise witness” and said that allowing Zebley to testify would be a “unprecedented decision to allow a witness’s counsel to both advise him privately and simultaneously testify alongside him.” “If Democrats believe it is the special counsel’s responsibility to testify to his report, they have no ground for outsourcing that duty at the expense of our committee’s integrity,” Collins said in the statement. Zebley has long been an aide by Mueller’s side, serving Mueller’s chief of staff when he was FBI director. He also worked with Mueller at the private law firm Wilmer Hale before joining his team after Mueller was appointed special counsel.'

Judge orders improvements at county jail in Georgia

Training and Health WXOW

ATLANTA (AP) — A U.S. judge has ordered officials in a metro Atlanta county to improve conditions at a local jail where women with mental health problems say they are subject to prolonged solitary confinement.
'ATLANTA (AP) — A U.S. judge has ordered officials in a metro Atlanta county to improve conditions at a local jail where women with mental health problems say they are subject to prolonged solitary confinement.Judge William Ray issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday requiring Fulton County Sheriff Theodore Jackson to permit women at South Fulton jail to have one hour of recreation time and two hours of free time each day.The judge also told Jackson and other officials to come up with a plan to provide clean cells and therapeutic activities.An email to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office was not immediately returned.A lawsuit filed in April says urine and toilet water pool on the floor of cells at the jail and meals of moldy sandwich meat are common. . The post Judge orders improvements at county jail in Georgia appeared first on WXOW .'

Four new faces in the School of Science faculty

School and Education MIT News

Departments of Biology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Chemistry welcome new faculty members.
'This fall, the School of Science will welcome four new members joining the faculty in the departments of Biology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Chemistry. Evelina Fedorenko investigates how our brains process language. She has developed novel analytic approaches for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other brain imaging techniques to help answer the questions of how the language processing network functions and how it relates to other networks in the brain. She works with both neurotypical individuals and individuals with brain disorders. Fedorenko joins the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences as an assistant professor. She received her BA from Harvard University in linguistics and psychology and then completed her doctoral studies at MIT in 2007. After graduating from MIT, Fedorenko worked as a postdoc and then as a research scientist at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. In 2014, she joined the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she was an associate researcher and an assistant professor, respectively. She is also a member of the McGovern Institute. Morgan Sheng focuses on the structure, function, and turnover of synapses, the junctions that allow communication between brain cells. His discoveries have improved our understanding of the molecular basis of cognitive function and diseases of the nervous system, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Being both a physician and a scientist, he incorporates genetic as well as biological insights to aid the study and treatment of mental illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases. He rejoins the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), returning as a professor of neuroscience, a position he also held from 2001 to 2008. At that time, he was a member of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, a joint appointee in the Department of Biology, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Sheng earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1990, completed a postdoc at the University of California at San Francisco in 1994, and finished his medical training with a residency in London in 1986. From 1994 to 2001, he researched molecular and cellular neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. From 2008 to 2019 he was vice president of neuroscience at Genentech, a leading biotech company. In addition to his faculty appointment in BCS, Sheng is core institute member and co-director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, as well as an affiliate member of the McGovern Institute and the Picower Institute. Seychelle Vos studies genome organization and its effect on gene expression at the intersection of biochemistry and genetics. Vos uses X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, and biophysical approaches to understand how transcription is physically coupled to the genome’s organization and structure. She joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor after completing a postdoc at the Max Plank Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. Vos received her BS in genetics in 2008 from the University of Georgia and her PhD in molecular and cell biology in 2013 from the University of California at Berkeley. Xiao Wang is a chemist and molecular engineer working to improve our understanding of biology and human health. She focuses on brain function and dysfunction, producing and applying new chemical, biophysical, and genomic tools at the molecular level. Previously, she focused on RNA modifications and how they impact cellular function. Wang is joining MIT as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. She was previously a postdoc of the Life Science Research Foundation at Stanford University. Wang received her BS in chemistry and molecular engineering from Peking University in 2010 and her PhD in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 2015. She is also a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.'

Georgia Woman Opens Fire Inside a McDonald’s After Being Served Cold Fries

Law and Order News Breaking

A woman in Garden City, Georgia, was arrested after she reportedly fired a gun inside of a McDonald’s.The woman, who was not identified, reportedly arrived at the fast food eatery and received her order without complaint.However, she then returned
'A woman in Garden City, Georgia, was arrested after she reportedly fired a gun inside of a McDonald’s.The woman, who was not identified, reportedly arrived at the fast food eatery and received her order without complaint.However, she then returned into the restaurant and complained that the fries were cold.According to the owner, as the manager went to get new fries, the woman went into the kitchen and fired a shot into the floor.They then gave her a refund and she left.Police arrived at the scene and learned that she had left, but managed to track her down and arrest her without incident.Source: Police: Ga. woman fires gun in McDonald’s after receiving cold fries . The post Georgia Woman Opens Fire Inside a McDonald’s After Being Served Cold Fries appeared first on News Breaking .'

Mueller scrambles hearing by tapping top deputy as counsel

Politics Politico

Republicans called the plan a 'stunt' that could be a breach of House rules.
'Robert Mueller’s top deputy will appear alongside him as his counsel for his highly-anticipated testimony on Wednesday, according to a committee source familiar with the preparations, a last-minute move that Republicans are panning as a breach of House rules that could jeopardize the hearings altogether. Republicans said Democrats’ decision to allow Aaron Zebley to accompany Mueller — at the former special counsel’s request — represents a breach of their tentative negotiations. Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, called the move a “stunt” and said it could “jeopardize whether tomorrow's hearing complies with the rules of the House.” “If Democrats believe it is the special counsel’s responsibility to testify to his report, they have no ground for outsourcing that duty at the expense of our committee’s integrity,” Collins said. Mueller spokesman Jim Popkin on Monday said he didn’t know yet who would be joining the former special counsel at the hearing, let alone if anyone would be seated with him at the witness table. Popkin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Both Zebley and James Quarles, another Mueller deputy, were initially expected to testify before both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees behind closed doors, but those sessions were called off amid opposition from Attorney General William Barr. Barr has said that Mueller’s deputies should not testify, and he suggested that the Justice Department would move to block them from appearing if the committees issued subpoenas to compel their testimony. It is unclear whether the Justice Department will try to disrupt Wednesday’s arrangement. The move threatens to further inflame tensions between the Justice Department and House Democrats. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler on Tuesday blasted President Donald Trump’s Justice Department as “incredibly arrogant” for instructing Mueller to limit the scope of his scheduled testimony Wednesday before the Judiciary and Intelligence panels. But the New York Democrat predicted that the Justice Department’s Monday directive would not affect Wednesday’s highly anticipated pair of hearings with the former special counsel. “I don't think it's much of an impediment, simply because Bob Mueller had indicated repeatedly that he was going to do exactly that,” Nadler said on CNN. “I think it's incredibly arrogant of the department to try to instruct him as to what to say. It's a part of the ongoing cover-up by the administration to keep information away from the American people, but I think that it's not going to have a real impact.” Mueller has stated that his 448-page report “is my testimony” and that he does not intend to speak about topics that were not already made public, presenting Democrats with a challenge when Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence panels. And on Monday, the Justice Department told Mueller that his testimony “must remain within the boundaries of your public report” because the president has asserted executive privilege over the investigation’s underlying evidence, POLITICO first reported. Nadler said on Tuesday that Democratic lawmakers have “been operating under the assumption that he'll do essentially what he said — he'll stay more or less within the bounds of the report.” But the chairman also said Mueller “does not have to comply” with the Justice Department’s directives. “He doesn't work for them,” Nadler said, “and that letter asks things that are beyond the power of the agency to ask even if he still worked for them.” Despite the Justice Department’s letter to Mueller, it is unlikely that the department will insist on having a lawyer in the room during Mueller’s testimony to lodge objections to certain questions — essentially relying on Mueller to self-police his remarks. Mueller is known to strictly adhere to Justice Department guidelines, and Democrats do not expect him to deviate from that posture. In May, Trump asserted executive privilege over Mueller’s entire report and underlying materials. The move came after the Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for the unredacted report and all evidence underpinning it, and the Justice Department’s defiance of that subpoena led the panel to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. Democrats are eager to ask Mueller several questions about his investigation and his legal conclusions, including whether he would have charged Trump with obstruction of justice if he were not the president — a reference to Justice Department policy that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. While Mueller is unlikely to answer that question directly, Democrats say there are other ways to illuminate Mueller’s decision not to formally accuse the president of committing a crime. The Judiciary Committee is expected to focus on five specific episodes of potential obstruction of justice — ones that, according to Mueller, met all three elements required for an obstruction charge. House Democrats are planning an all-out messaging blitz over the next few days, blanketing social media with excerpts of Mueller’s report and real-time clips from the hearing. It’s an effort to amplify any of the material Mueller gives them and line it up with the most damaging details of his report. Democrats have also put together a five-page set of talking points for their colleagues who aren’t as deeply immersed in the Mueller report, distilling Mueller’s dense findings into a digestible summary they can use to help spread the caucus-wide message. Darren Samuelsohn and Quint Forgey contributed to this report. Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine'

Hannah Brown let Luke have it on ‘Men Tell All’

Movies FOX2now.com

If you thought the show down between Hannah Brown and Luke Parker was done on “The Bachelorette,” you were wrong. The pair had some words for each other on Monday’s the “Men Tell All” special. Actually, Hannah had most of the words for the former
'If you thought the show down between Hannah Brown and Luke Parker was done on “The Bachelorette,” you were wrong. The pair had some words for each other on Monday’s the “Men Tell All” special. Actually, Hannah had most of the words for the former contestant she had bounced from the show after he tried to elicit a promise from her that she wouldn’t have sex with the other contestants. “I’m so over being slut-shamed and being felt like that makes me not a woman of faith,” she said. Brown said she felt Parker had “almost weaponized” their faith against her. “I was, at the end, threatened by the shared faith that we had,” she said. “Unfortunately, the people that believe the same thing I do do that a lot sometimes, using the same words and same things we believe to call out specific things and poke.” Brown, 24, gave Parker, 24, the boot last week after they got into a heated conversation in Greece during the show’s Fantasy Suite week. For the uninitiated, the Fantasy Suite is a big deal on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” because it gives the individual couples an opportunity to spend some overnight time together, away from cameras. Brown is a native of Alabama and a former beauty queen who felt a connection with Parker, who is from Georgia. She also established something with some of the other men vying for her heart, which caused tension between her and Parker, who had been divisive in the house of men competing for a final rose from Brown. So much so, he has widely been viewed as this season’s villain. Parker told Brown that while he’s not a virgin, he’s been abstinent for the past four years because of his religious beliefs and he wanted the same for her. Saying he was “very confident that we’re on the same page with our morals,” he wanted assurances that there would be no hanky panky between Brown and the three other men left in the competition. “I totally have all the trust in the world for you, but at the same time I just want to make sure we’re on the same page,” he said. “Like, if you told me you’re going to have sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I would be wanting to go home 100 percent.” This upset Brown, who ended up telling him she had had sex, “And Jesus still loves me.” On Monday’s special, Parker offered Brown an apology. “I’m sorry for making it about me and being prideful at times and making the whole process difficult for you,” he said. But he also later said Brown had told him, “Don’t judge me about the fantasy suites because I won’t be using that for sex,” something she denied saying. “Fantasy suites aren’t used for sex Luke,” Brown said. “You didn’t have one, so maybe you don’t know.” She said she did pay attention to what some of the other contestants told her about Parker, but wanted to make up her mind for herself. In the end, Brown said she decided that the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with would not make her feel in the way Parker had. “I live my life and make mistakes and sin every single day,” she said. “And so do you….that’s what grace is for.”'

Georgia Lawmaker Who Charged Racism in Supermarket Shows in Previous Tweet a Quickness to Charge Racism

Law and Order The Epoch Times (US)

Georgia Democratic state Representative Erica Thomas is facing allegations that she fabricated part of her claim that a man racially harassed her at a supermarket, following the man’s strong denial that he ever did so. Thomas accused a man named
'Georgia Democratic state Representative Erica Thomas is facing allegations that she fabricated part of her claim that a man racially harassed her at a supermarket, following the man’s strong denial that he ever did so. Thomas accused a man named Eric Sparkes of telling Thomas to go back to where she came from, but Sparkes denies the charge. “This white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy son of a b—. He says, ‘you lazy son of a b—.’ You need to go back where you came from,’” Thomas said in a viral Facebook video regarding an alleged incident at Mableton Publix supermarket in Georgia, where Thomas was involved in a dispute in the express line. Eric Sparkes, the man accused of racially harassing Thomas, appeared unexpectedly to defend himself at Thomas’ live televised press conference outside the supermarket, identifying himself as a Cuban Democrat and maintaining that he did not tell Thomas to go back where she came from. Thomas then changed details of her story in a Channel 2 interview conducted after the divisive press conference, stating, “I don’t want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember.” Thomas then denied backtracking on her claim at another press conference Monday. Derrick Tompkins, a Publix cashier and witness to the confrontation, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution : “I’m not going to say that wasn’t said, but I don’t remember hearing it. I’m going to leave it at that,” Reached for comment, Eric Sparkes told The Epoch Times that he is no longer conducting interviews but pointed us to a statement confirming that he is “in the process of exploring with attorneys a defamation lawsuit against her.” Thomas has a history of making racism allegations in public.  For instance, in a July 13, 2018 tweet she accused a pool boy of racism. “At the pool @Westin and after the waitress ask the Caucasian people on both sides of me for their order and skipped over me minutes later the pool boy ask me for my room key. This cannot be real right now. I am a guest too right. #racist,” Thomas tweeted. In the wake of her accusation against Sparkes, dozens of tweets responded to her 2018 tweet, mocking her, saying she was not believable, was creating a race hoax, and so on. One tweet noted that hotel servers frequently ask for guests’ room keys in order to make charges to a guest’s room. At the pool @Westin and after the waitress ask the Caucasian people on both sides of me for their order and skipped over me minutes later the pool boy ask me for my room key. This can not be real right now. I am a guest too right. #racist — Erica Thomas (@itsericathomas) July 13, 2018 “I doubted her story from the beginning. I call her the Jussie Smollett of Georgia,” national Tea Party co-founder Debbie Dooley told The Epoch Times, pointing to Thomas’ reputation in the Peach State stemming from the pool tweet. Representative Thomas’ office did not immediately return a request for comment.'

Clemson dominates ACC preseason awards list

Sports ABC Columbia

The preseason accolades continue to roll in for defending national champion Clemson.
'GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The preseason accolades continue to roll in for defending national champion Clemson. The Tigers placed 13 players on the 27-member 2019 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Football Team announced Tuesday, including preseason Player of the Year and quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne, four offensive linemen and a pair of wide receivers. Preseason honors were determined by a vote of 173 media members credentialed for last week’s ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lawrence started the final 11 games in 2018 as a true freshman, helping Clemson become the first college football team in the modern era to go 15-0. The Cartersville, Georgia, standout became the first true freshman since 1985 to lead his team to the national title as he completed 259 of 397 passes for 3,280 yards with 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Tigers won each of their final 10 games by 20 points or more. Lawrence received 127 votes in this year’s ACC Preseason Player of the Year balloting. Etienne – who earned 2018 ACC Player of the Year honors while rushing for 1,658 yards and scoring a league-record tying 26 touchdowns – placed second with 24 votes. Boston College running back AJ Dillon (15 votes), Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins (6) and Florida State running back Cam Akers (1) rounded out the balloting. Lawrence received 161 votes at the quarterback position to lead all players in the Preseason All-ACC Team balloting. Tiger teammates Tee Higgins (145 votes at wide receiver), Etienne (144 at running back) and John Simpson (136 at offensive guard) also placed among the overall vote leaders, as did Boston College’s Dillon (144). Dillon rushed for 1,108 yards last season and led the ACC in yards per game (110.8). Syracuse’s four selections include safety Andre Cisco, defensive end Alton Robinson, punter Sterling Hofrichter and placekicker Andre Szmyt. A 2018 unanimous All-American, Szmyt led the FBS in most kicking categories last season, including connecting on an ACC-record 30 field goals. With 122 votes at the cornerback position, Virginia’s Bryce Hall was the top vote-getter among defensive players. Miami placed three players on this year’s Preseason All-ACC team, followed by Boston College and Florida State with two each. Duke, Pitt and Virginia each had one player voted to the squad. Lawrence, Etienne, Higgins and Simpson are joined on the Preseason All-ACC offensive team by four Clemson teammates – wide receiver Justyn Ross, tackle Tremayne Anchrum, guard Gage Cervenka and center Sean Pollard. Tackle Ben Petrula joins Dillon in representing Boston College. Florida State wide receiver Tamorrion Terry, Miami tight end Brevin Jordan and Duke all-purpose player Deon Jackson round out the offense. Skilled Pitt return man Maurice Ffrench was chosen at the specialist position. The defensive end slots include Xavier Thomas of Clemson and Robinson of Syracuse. Florida State’s Marvin Wilson and Clemson’s Nyles Pinckney were selected at the tackle positions. Miami placed two players among the linebacker corps, where Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney are joined by Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons. Virginia’s Hall is joined in the defensive backfield by Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell and safeties Tanner Muse of Clemson and Cisco of Syracuse. 2019 All-ACC Preseason Football Team (Total votes in parenthesis) Offense WR – Tee Higgins, Clemson (145) WR – Justyn Ross, Clemson (123) WR – Tamorrion Terry, Florida State (69) TE – Brevin Jordan, Miami (66) AP – Deon Jackson, Duke (47) OT – Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson (100) OT – Ben Petrula, Boston College (54) OG – John Simpson, Clemson (136) OG – Gage Cervenka, Clemson (45) C – Sean Pollard, Clemson (75) QB – Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (161) RB – Travis Etienne, Clemson (144) RB – AJ Dillon, Boston College (144) Defense DE – Xavier Thomas, Clemson (84) DE – Alton Robinson, Syracuse (83) DT – Marvin Wilson, Florida State (105) DT – Nyles Pinckney, Clemson (49) LB – Shaquille Quarterman, Miami (118) LB – Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (109) LB – Michael Pinckney, Miami (66) CB – Bryce Hall, Virginia (122) CB – A.J. Terrell, Clemson (62) S – Andre Cisco, Syracuse (80) S – Tanner Muse, Clemson (78) Special Teams PK – Andre Szmyt, Syracuse (88) P – Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (70) SP – Maurice Ffrench, Pitt (48) ACC Player of the Year 1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson – 127 2. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson – 24 3. AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College – 15 4. Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia – 6 5. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State – 1 \t\t\t\t Categories : Clemson , Local Sports , Sports \t\t\t \t\t\t\t Tags : Clemson'

Georgia Mother Charged After Baby Falls And Dies During Fight

Parenting News Breaking

A 3-month-old baby died as a result of a fight between the baby’s mother and another woman, according to the Moultrie Police Department in Georgia.During the fight, the 3-month-old fell from the mother’s arm onto the pavement, Lt.Freddie Williams
'A 3-month-old baby died as a result of a fight between the baby’s mother and another woman, according to the Moultrie Police Department in Georgia.During the fight, the 3-month-old fell from the mother’s arm onto the pavement, Lt.Freddie Williams said.The baby was taken to Colquitt Regional Medical Center for a head injury.The baby later died from his injuries from the fall.The mother, Karen Lashun Harrison, 26, was charged with felony murder, first-degree cruelty to children, second-degree cruelty to children and simple battery.Carneata Clark, 26, was also charged in the incident.Clark was charged with false statements and writings and obstruction of an officer for her involvement in the case, according to police.Williams said this is an ongoing investigation and more arrests are possible.Source: Police: Georgia woman drops, fatally hurts baby during fight – ABC News . The post Georgia Mother Charged After Baby Falls And Dies During Fight appeared first on News Breaking .'