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Yet Another Kavanaugh Accuser Alleging a Drunken Assault in 1998 Is Being Investigated by the Senate: Report

September 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The allegations just keep coming.


The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to a new report from NBC News.

The report says the committee has been informed of an incident in 1998 during which the accuser says in a letter that Kavanaugh drunkenly shoved a woman against a wall “very aggressively and sexually.”

NBC News reports:

“There were at least four witnesses including my daughter.” The writer of the letter provided no names but said the alleged victim was still traumatized and had decide to remain anonymous herself.

A Democratic source said the minority wasn’t satisfied by the Republicans’ questions about the incident during the call, calling them cursory, and believed it should be investigated more deeply.

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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More Bad News For Kavanaugh: Ex-Girlfriend of Friend Who Allegedly Witnessed Assault Offers to Speak to Investigators

September 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Mark Judge is one of the few alleged to have witnessed Brett Kavanaugh's assaults. He isn't talking — but his ex is.


One of the only people alleged to have actually witnessed the incident in which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of assaulting Christine Blasey Ford at a house party in the early 1980s is his friend Mark Judge, who Ford claims stood by and laughed.

Judge has told the Senate Judiciary Committee he has no memory of the party, but refuses to testify under oath and went into hiding in a beach house in Delaware.

Despite this, one other person close to Judge seems willing to give information, according to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post: his ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Rasor. In fact, Rasor is reportedly prepared to testify to the Senate or to the FBI.

Judge’s college girlfriend, Elizabeth Rasor, is represented by lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who sent a letter to the Judiciary Committee today. The letter, which was provided to me by a senior Senate Democratic aide on the committee, says that Rasor “would welcome the opportunity” to speak to “agents of the FBI as part of a reopened background investigation” into Kavanaugh’s conduct.

In The New Yorker's story that broke the name of Kavanaugh's second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer wrote that Rasor remembers Judge “had told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman.” Judge did not name Kavanaugh in this incident, but it cuts strongly against Judge's prior claim that “no horseplay” with women happened while he and Kavanaugh were at Georgetown Prep.

It remains to be seen whether she can cast any light on the Ford case, or on Kavanaugh's behavior.

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Here Are 7 of the Wildest and Most Unhinged Moments from Trump's Off-the-Rails Press Conference

September 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Trump's behavior was completely stunning.


Since he entered the White House, President Donald Trump has given few press conferences. On Wednesday, he made it clear why he and his team avoid the medium.

In a wild, disjointed, and disrespectful display, Trump launched into a rant about his supposed accomplishments, his dissatisfaction with the coverage of his presidency, and foreign relations. He spoke over women, lied, twisted the facts, berated reporters, and jumped from topic to topic in a frequently incoherent manner.

Here are just seven of the wildest moments of the press conference:

1. Trump claimed Obama was close to going to war with North Korea.

When discussing his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the success of which he continues to greatly exaggerate, Trump made a new wild claim that President Barack Obama came close to war with the rogue regime. While Obama did warn Trump during the transition that North Korea would be his biggest foreign policy challenge, there's no indication the former president was willing to go to war with the country.

“For the record, Obama's office declined to comment when I asked about this Trump claim about war with North Korea, but referred me to former Obama national security spokesman Ned Price, who said it's entirely false, completely at odds with everything Obama has always thought,” said Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale.

2. Trump couldn't coherently answer a question about the 25th Amendment.

Trump was also asked whether he believes anyone in his administration has discussed using the 25th Administration to constitutionally remove him from office for being unable to fulfill the duties of his office.

“I don't think so,” he said. “Enemies, sure!”

Of course, this seemed to imply that Trump thinks there are enemies within his own Cabinet. When the reporter tried to press him on this, though, he kept saying that his political opponents would try to use the 25 Amendment to remove him. Since invoking the 25th Amendment requires the consent of the Cabinet, his response suggested he has no idea how the law actually works.

3. Trump says there's no timetable on denuclearization with North Korea.

In response to questions …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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MSNBC's Katy Tur Shuts Down Kavanaugh Attorney in Heated Interview: 'Don’t Put Words in My Mouth'

September 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Katy Tur asked Brett Kavanaugh's attorney if she's calling the nominee's latest accuser a liar.


Wednesday, attorney and outspoken Donald Trump critic Michael Avenatti revealed the name of a third woman who is accusing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual abuse: Julie Swetnick, who Avenatti is representing. Swetnick’s allegations against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee are the most disturbing yet: Swetnick alleges that back in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh took part in a gang rape. And when MSNBC’s Katy Tur discussed the allegations with Kavanaugh’s attorney, Beth Wilkinson, this afternoon, the MSNBC reporter asked if she was “calling (Swetnick) a liar.”

During the interview, Wilkinson told Tur that Swetnick has made such a “frightening allegation” that Avenatti should have gone to law enforcement. And Tur asked Wilkinson, “Are you calling her a liar?”

Wilkinson responded that she was “not calling her a liar” but that she found it suspect that Avenatti “never went to the police.” Kavanaugh’s attorney told Tur, “If I had represented her, it would have been my duty to go to the police immediately.”

Tur also asked Wilkinson whether or not Kavanaugh believes “any of the women who have came out and accused (President Trump) of sexual misconduct.” And Kavanaugh’s attorney responded, “I don’t know what that has to do with this. I’ve never discussed that with him. We’re talking about what’s happening here. And I came today to be on your program to tell you exactly what he believes and what we know. And that’s it. I’m not here to make political arguments and comment on what the president said or didn’t say.”

Kavanaugh has denied Swetnick’s allegations—insisting that he has never met her—as well as the allegations of his two previous accusers: Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. 

Watch the video below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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New Report Reveals Plan for a Sprawling US-Russia Alliance Was Discussed at Trump Ally's Mysterious Meeting with Russian Official

September 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The meeting in Seychelles has reportedly draw scrutiny from Robert Mueller.


One of the many threads in the ongoing Russia investigation is a mysterious meeting between Blackwater founder — and ally to President Donald Trump — Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of Russia's sovereign wealth fund during the presidential transition period in January 2017.

Prince has said that the meeting, also attended by UAE adviser George Nader, was not pre-arranged and was just “over a beer.” He said he was not representing Trump in the meeting. However, a report from the Washington Post found that special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that the meeting was actually pre-arranged to set up a backchannel between the Trump administration and Russia.

And now a new report from the Daily Beast details an account of teh meeting from a memo kept by the Russian side of the conversation. It contains the details for a plan of an expansive alliance between the United States and Russia on a range of issues.

This includes:

  • An alliance between U.S. and Russian forces to fight ISIS
  • “A serious joint effort” to address the spread of weapons of mass destruction
  • A proposal for joint economic investment in each country
  • An 'honest and open and continual dialogue” on differences between the countries
  • A working group to improve the U.S.-Russia relationship

The report doesn't resolve many of the open questions about the meeting — particularly regarding any potential coordination with the Trump camp. But it does paint a clearer picture of what the meeting discussed, which is particularly startling given the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

An Obama-era State Department official called the proposal “breathtaking.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Study Finds Declining Student Achievement, Increased Harm to School Choice Since Common Core

September 26, 2018 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey, Theodor Rebarber, Patrick J. Wolf

Neal McCluskey, Theodor Rebarber, and Patrick J. Wolf

While U.S. academic performance has declined since the broad
implementation of Common Core, school choice programs are
increasingly hamstrung by regulations that require private schools
to adopt a single curriculum standards-based test as a condition
for receiving public money, according to a new study published by
Pioneer Institute.

“When states mandate a particular curriculum
standards-based test, private schools are essentially required to
adopt the curriculum content and pedagogy on which the test is
based if they want to increase the probability that that their
students are successful,” said Theodor Rebarber, chief
executive officer of AccountabilityWorks and co-author of a report
titled, “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking
Standards-Based Reform.”

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. tuition grant (“voucher”)
programs require schools to administer a single curriculum-based
test, typically a Common Core-aligned test, in order to receive
public money. Tax credits are less susceptible to government
mandates than voucher programs are.

Congress should eliminate
the mandate that every state impose a single statewide set of
curriculum standards and allow states to experiment with diverse
approaches to accountability.

Under tax credit programs, parents paying tuition or others that
donate money receive a tax credit. The authors find that in 95
percent of cases, these programs are not subject to
curriculum-based testing mandates.

Common Core is the logical endpoint of nearly three decades of
congressionally mandated centralization through
“standards-based reform” that has moved key curriculum
content, sequencing and pedagogical decisions away from local
school systems and educators to the state and national levels.

Instead of the promised accountability for results or informed
school choice, the outcome at the local level has been a culture of
compliance (“alignment”) that has intruded into the
core function of curriculum and teaching.

“With its near-monopoly status distorting the textbook and
other instructional materials markets,” said Neal McCluskey,
director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational
Freedom, who co-authored the study, “Common Core blunts the
innovation, dynamism and competition that is the heart of the
school choice movement,” with Rebarber.

The authors find that after several decades of only incremental
test score improvements, which started prior to federal
requirements for curriculum centralization, since Common Core was
implemented in 45 states and Washington, D.C., student results are
showing the first significant declines in achievement, especially
for students who were already behind.

Fourth- and eighth-grade math scores were down overall on the
2015 and 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The
declines among lower-performing students (bottom quartile) were
even steeper. Fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores were flat,
with declines among lower-performing students. At the same time,
the United States is no closer to the internationally competitive
performance in math and science observed in top-tier developed
nations.

Instead …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How Anita Hill’s Testimony Made America Cringe—And Change

September 26, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

The uncomfortable spectacle of the hearings would reverberate across the nation and have lasting consequences that endure today.


Anita Hill testifying to sexual harassment from former boss Clarence Thomas during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991.

In October 1991, Americans were riveted by the spectacle of an all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee questioning Anita Hill, the African-American law professor who had accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

TV viewers, both male and female, watched in increasing discomfort as the senators asked Hill about large-breasted women, a porn star named Long Dong Silver and pubic hair on a Coke can, among other previously unthinkable subjects for a Senate committee hearing.

But for women, Hill’s testimony would have special significance, as it was the first time someone had so publicly shared her account of about the high stakes that accompany the Kavanaugh hearings, and her advice for how the Senate Judiciary Committee could handle them differently than in 1991.

“With years of hindsight, mounds of evidence of the prevalence and harm that sexual violence causes individuals and our institutions,” she wrote, “as well as a Senate with more women than ever, ‘not getting it’ isn’t an option for our elected representatives. In 2018, our senators must get it right.”

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Who Invented Candy Corn?

September 26, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

The tri-colored confection was designed to look like chicken feed and came out at a time when about half of Americans worked on farms.

Whether you like it, hate it or just use it to decorate, you probably think of candy corn as a , in The Atlantic. “Corn was coarse and cheap and not very tasty: good food for pigs and chickens. It wasn’t until war-time wheat shortages in 1917 that any but the poorest Americans would have considered corn flour, corn meal, or corn bread acceptable foodstuffs.”

Even after World War I, candy corn maintained its association with chickens. Packages of Goelitz’s candy corn from the 1920s displayed a rooster and the motto, “King of the Candy Corn Fields.”

In the first half of the 20th century, candy corn became a common “penny candy.” These were the types of treats kids could buy in bulk for very little money. Kids most likely thought of them as candies to eat year-round than special ones to get on Halloween, which wasn’t yet specifically associated with candy. Candy corn might appear at Halloween parties, but also at celebrations for Thanksgiving and Easter.

“As Halloween became more and more dominated by candy beginning in the 1950s, candy corn increasingly became the candy for Halloween,” Kawash writes. “There was a dramatic spike in October advertising of candy corn beginning in the 1950s. Other kinds of candy were advertised for Halloween too, but they were advertised just as heavily during the rest of the year.”

Today, while it’s easy to find candy corn year-round (the National Confectioners Association estimates more than 35 million pounds of the candy are sold every year), it’s most prominent in October when, on the 30th, National Candy Corn Day honors the original “chicken feed” treat.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Best Gear for Backwoods Camping

September 26, 2018 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

Heading into the wilderness? Here are some essentials you won’t want to be without.


Chopping. Clearing. Fighting off a zombie apocalypse. With , which comes with a 4.5-inch stainless-steel black blade, an ergonomic handle (and a lifetime warranty), weekend campers and hard-core survivalists alike will be ready to face the wilderness—or the walking dead. About $23, Amazon

HEAD IN THE GAME

Love it when things serve multiple purposes? Get ready to fall for the Buff, a veritable Swiss army knife of head/neckwear. Made of a moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric, it can be worn in more than a dozen ways—as scarf, face mask, cap, headband, neck gaiter, balaclava, hair tie and more. It also comes in a slew of cool prints and colors. About $9 and up, Amazon

PUT A BOW ON IT

You don’t have to have the aim of Katniss Everdeen to put the Southland Archery Supply Pioneer Traditional Wood Long Bow to good use. The fiberglass-and-wood 68-inch recurve is made for high-performance shooting, whether you’re just buffing up your archery skills—or fighting for survival, Hunger Games-style. About $190, Amazon

ONE DIRECTION

Never lose your way with Eyeskey’s Military-Style Aluminum Alloy Compass. A must for any true outdoorsman or woman, this rugged camo-metal compass includes a fluorescent light so you can read it at night, and a built-in bubble level for better accuracy. Plus, it’s waterproof and shake-proof so you’ll always know where you’re going. Around $20, Amazon

HANG-OUT TIME

When you’re loading your bag for an expedition, you have to think light. (No towering, top-heavy monster packs, thank you very much.) Eagles Nest Outfitter’s DoubleNest hammock weighs a mere 19 ounces, stuffs into its own bag, is made with quick-drying nylon and even works as a place to sleep. Straps not included. About $70, Amazon

LET IT POUR

When you’re in the wild, you’re going to need rain gear. Be prepared for Mother Nature’s worst with Outdoor Research’s Men’s Helium II jacket. Made with 100 percent nylon, it’s waterproof and windproof, but still breathable and lightweight. When it’s not raining? It packs down into an internal pocket, doubling as a stuff sack (or pillow, in a pinch). Starts at about $80, Amazon

DRINK IT IN

It doesn’t really matter if you’re planning to stroll a suburban greenway or hike deep into the backcountry—you’re gonna need water. …read more

Source: HISTORY