Friday, July 28, 2017

News Round-Up: July 28, 2017


Some news items you may have missed:

• Fitness trainer Ben Zerbst (above) is concerned about his "t-shirt tan," which gives you just one more reason to keep staring, as if you need one :)

• Kathryn Knott, convicted Philadelphia gay-basher, is now claiming self-defense in a civil lawsuit from the couple she helped attack. One of her victims had his jaw wired shut for 8 months due to injuries.

• Stephen Colbert slammed Donald Trump's tweets announcing a new ban on transgender military service members: “I began my day today as I often begin my days, by checking Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. Just to see how far the crazy has spread. And today, I really think he’s off his meds, as he’s gone from crazy to cruel."



• The GOP-controlled House has approved $1.6 billion for President Donald Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump promised at nearly every rally and campaign event that Mexico would pay for the wall.

• 19 Attorneys General have sent a letter to Congress opposing Trump's transgender military ban.

• Woofy Instahunk Roberto Caccamo sends regards from Italy...

Has Any White House Seen This Much Turmoil In First Six Months?


The average White House Chief of Staff lasts 1.5-2 years.

Reince Priebus lasted 189 days - the shortest in history.

Here's a short list of folks who've already departed the Trump administration:

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

White House Communications Director Mike Dubke

National Security Director Michael Flynn

FBI Director James Comey

and many more...

In only six months.

WH Comm Dir Anthony Scaramucci's Wife Files For Divorce Citing His "Naked Ambition"

Anthony Scaramucci
According to the PageSix.com, the wife of newly-installed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has filed for divorce citing his "naked ambition" and desire to get close to Donald Trump.

Deidre Ball, who worked as a vice president in investor relations for SkyBridge Capital, the firm he founded in 2005 and sold to ascend to the White House, has filed for divorce from “The Mooch” after three years of marriage after getting fed up with his ruthless quest to get close to President Trump, whom she despises.

One source told Page Six, “Deidre has left him and has filed for divorce. She liked the nice Wall Street life and their home on Long Island, not the insane world of D.C. She is tired of his naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end. She has left him even though they have two children together.”

Scaramucci and Ball, 38, began dating in 2011 and are believed to have married in 2014.

Scaramucci appeared to be confirming the rumor tweeting this in the last hour:



He has since removed this tweet from his feed:

Open Letter: 45 Senators Ask Secretary Of Defense To Reconsider Trump Trans Military Ban

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Armed Services Committee, has penned an open letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to reconsider Donald Trump's surprise ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military.

The letter, signed by 44 other senators, urges the Pentagon to at least let the Department of Defense finish a review on the issue before bringing in the new policy.

Gillibrand is joined by 42 Democratic senators as well as Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

“We strongly oppose this policy change and urge you to advise the President against it,” Gillibrand and the senators wrote.

A new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released today shows 58% of Americans agree transgender military members should be allowed to serve.

Only 27% said definitively "no."

Here's the full text of the letter and signees:

Dear Secretary Mattis,

We are writing regarding the President’s announcement via Twitter yesterday that transgender Americans can no longer serve in the military. We strongly oppose this policy change, and urge you to advise the President against it. This announcement contradicts existing Defense Department policies, undermines our military readiness, and puts our transgender service members as well as their commanders in an impossible situation. We appreciate General Dunford’s message that no policy changes should be made until implementation guidelines have been issued. We further write to request that, at a minimum, you do not separate any service member due to the person’s gender identity until you have completed the assessment that you announced on June 30, have reported back to Congress about any challenges that you foresee in the accession and retention of transgender troops, and determined the Department is unable to mitigate these challenges.

Transgender Americans who serve in our military put their lives on the line to protect America. They make up a small percentage of the military population, but are reportedly twice as likely to serve in the military as other Americans. Transgender service members have been serving openly since the policy was changed in June 2016 and in that time no service has reported any issues associated with their service.

Forcing these brave Americans out of our military would be cruel and discriminatory. It would harm our readiness by denying the military of these service members’ capabilities and requiring the military to replace them at a time when the recruiting pool for the services continues to shrink. It will harm morale in the military as service members see their brothers and sisters in arms — some of whom are currently forward deployed — thrown out simply because of their identity. And the uncertainty associated with making policy this way is already harming our military readiness and morale, as transgender service members and their superiors struggle to make sense of the policy and what it means for them today and tomorrow.

Any American who wants to serve and meets the standards should be allowed to serve our country. Transgender service members are serving with honor and distinction today and we ask that you, as our Secretary of Defense, assure them that their service will not be ended simply because of who they are.

Sincerely,

Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin T. Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I- Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

White House Shake-Up: Chief Of Staff Reince Priebus Resigns


From this point on, you should take stock in the rumors you hear coming out of the White House.

We heard two months ago that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was close to being fired.

Gone.

Just a week later, following the rumors we've all seen, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has resigned.

The new Chief of Staff will be current Homeland Security Secretary, General John F. Kelly.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American...and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."





Note the use of the words "true star." Trump just got off Air Force One where he referred to Reince as a "good man;" that was followed by his called Kelly "a great, great man."

Priebus had developed a relationship with Trump during the presidential campaign having served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

When Trump won, which I honestly believe surprised Trump, even he was aware he knew nothing of Washington protocol and procedures.

I think Trump turned to the most "inside" political person he knew: Priebus.

But over time, we've seen Trump only admires folks who utilize the same approach as Trump. And that's not Priebus.

As we saw in Anthony Scaramucci's expletive-laden rant to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza yesterday, Scaramucci's "street approach" is much more to Trump's liking.

One more thing - Back in 2012, Donald Trump criticized President Obama for having 3 Chiefs of Staff over 3 years. Trump is on his second in only six months:

Mario Cantone Channels New WH Comm Director Anthony Scaramucci


While SNL may have lost Melissa McCarthy's "Sean Spicer" character, Comedy Central’s The President Show has introduced its version of rambunctious White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci in the form of actor, Mario Cantone.

TV viewers will remember Cantone from his role of "Anthony Marentino" on the HBO hit, Sex and the City.

Introduced by Anthony Atamanuik’s "President Trump" last night, Cantone got straight to work calling out beleaguered White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.

“I’m going to fire so many people,” said Cantone’s Scaramucci. “I don’t know who it’s going to be, Reince, but I’m going to get to the bottom of the leaks in the White House. Do you hear me, Reince?”




Cantone showed up on CNN's "New Day" to chat on the new gig, although morning TV doesn't seem to be Mario's thing.

Trump To Police: "Please Don't Be Too Nice"


Speaking to an audience of police officers in Long Island, New York, Donald Trump encouraged the officers not be "too nice" to folks they arrest.

“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in. Rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’

"Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, you put your hand up like, ‘Don’t hit their head?’ And, they’ve just killed somebody? I said, ‘You can take the hand away.'”



Note the one guy in a cowboy hat on the right not applaud.

Remember when folks were considered innocent until proven guilty?











(h/t JoeMyGod)

New Music: Michael Blume "I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)"

Photo: Cha’ves Williams

Out singer/songwriter Michael Blume dropped his latest single, "I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)," yesterday.

The track, celebrating individuality and self-love, is imminently listenable, layered with self-empowering lyrics, neo-soul melodies, punchy horns, and electronic bouncy beats.

“No one is a trend,” Blume shared with Nylon.com. “Each and every one of us lives a uniquely dynamic and complex life full of distinct needs, dreams, and fears. Too often we are taught to diminish this truth; we are told to mold ourselves to fit some external idea, concept, [and] way of being. Whether it be political, race-related, gender-based, how we look/dress/pray, too often our culture encourages us to do/act/be like some idealized, foreign version of who we actually are."

"‘I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)’ speaks to the celebration of the self, "the New Jersey-native added.

After selling out two headlining shows at Bowery Ballroom with his 11-piece band and touring both the east and west coasts, he is spending his summer playing at major music festivals across the country including the New York City's Governor's Ball and two sets at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE. His tour schedule continues at Chicago's Lollapalooza and Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA.

For more info, head over to www.mblumemusic.com.

I previously wrote about Blume here.

Listen below. I dare you not to bop.

Defense Secretary Mattis Was "Appalled" By Trump's Transgender Ban Tweets


In announcing his ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military, Donald Trump made a point to say the decision was made "after consultation with my Generals and military experts," but apparently Trump blind-sided just about every on his military team.

And what he didn't make abundantly clear was the ban was actually was a snap maneuver to save money for his Mexican wall.

You know, the wall Mexico was going to pay for?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump made the declaration on Twitter, saying that American forces could not afford the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members. He said he had consulted generals and military experts, but Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, was given only a day’s notice about the decision.

Mr. Trump elected to announce the ban in order to resolve a quietly brewing fight on Capitol Hill over whether taxpayer money should pay for gender transition and hormone therapy for transgender service members. The dispute had threatened to kill a $790 billion defense and security spending package scheduled for a vote this week.

But rather than addressing that narrow issue, Mr. Trump opted to upend the entire policy on transgender service members.

His decision was announced with such haste that the White House could not answer basic inquiries about how it would be carried out, including what would happen to openly transgender people on active duty. Of eight defense officials interviewed, none could say.

Mr. Mattis, who was on vacation, was silent on the new policy. People close to the defense secretary said he was appalled that Mr. Trump chose to unveil his decision in tweets, in part because of the message they sent to transgender active-duty service members, including those deployed overseas, that they were suddenly no longer welcome.

Repeat: "The defense secretary said he was appalled..."

WH Comm Director Covers New York Daily News: "Mooch Madness"


Unsurprisingly, new White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, lands on the cover of the New York Daily News this morning as folks are still talking about his expletive-laden rant to a reporter about White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.

The Mooch is on the loose — and President Trump’s new attack dog is one angry, angry pooch.

“Reince is a f---ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said in a Wednesday night phone call to Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker.

Anthony Scaramucci takes shot at financial disclosure leakers
Scaramucci accused Priebus of, among other things, leaking to the press a dinner President Trump held earlier that night with the First Lady, Fox News host Sean Hannity and former Fox News executive Bill Shine.

Scaramucci channeled Priebus as he railed on the phone: “‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the f---ing thing and see if I can c--k-block these people the way I c--k-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’”

Later in the call, after he promised to fire three to four people “by tomorrow,” the former Wall Street hedge fund titan unleashed his below-the-belt venom on White House strategist Stephen Bannon.

“I’m not Steve Bannon,” Scaramucci said after insisting he had no interest in media attention.

“I’m not trying to suck my own c--k. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f---ing strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
Site Meter