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Member since: Sun Jan 13, 2019, 10:49 PM
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KISS frontman Gene Simmons delivers briefing at Pentagon that has not seen a spokesperson in year


As the frontman of KISS, Gene Simmons occupies rarefied air — a rock star who entertains arenas filled with adoring fans. On Thursday, Simmons joined another exclusive club, conducting only the second on-camera press briefing at the Department of Defense in the last year.
The only other person to stand at the Pentagon Briefing Room podium over the past year? The movie star Gerard Butler, who was there last October to promote a new movie.

It's just the latest sign of the Trump administration's ongoing marginalization of the press briefing, long a conduit through which the president and the cabinet have communicated policies and priorities to the news media and the public.

Simmons was on hand Thursday to address Department of Defense personnel and meet with outreach officials as part of a Pentagon initiative to engage the broader public with regards to military activities. He also paid a visit to the White House later in the day.

what's the term-bread and circus days

Roman numerals, anyone? Poll suggests bias against Arabic numerals


Who knows exactly what a new poll says about mathematics in America, but the reactions to a recent poll on the topic are a little alarming.

When CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based market research firm, polled more than 3,200 Americans on the issue of mathematics instruction last week, 56% of the respondents said Arabic numerals should not be taught in American schools; 29% said it should be part of the curriculum, while 16% offered no opinion.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we've ever seen in our data. pic.twitter.com/Bh3FBsl8sR

— John Dick (@jdcivicscience) May 11, 2019

Did they realize we’ve been using Arabic numerals for just about everything under the sun since the founding fathers gave us 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights?

I can't anymore

A US soldier who worships the Norse thunder god Thor just got permission to keep his beard


A bearded US Army soldier who worships Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is being permitted to keep his beard as part of the military's effort to be more religiously accommodating.

In 2017, the Army decided to allow soldiers to wear a turban, beard or hijab for religious reasons. Initially, religious accommodation of facial hair in the Army seemed to be directed at Sikh service members (beards are a religious requirement for male Sikhs).

Now, however, it appears this new policy also permits adherents of the Norse pagan faith, also known as heathens, to keep their beards. Unlike Sikhs, Norse pagans are not required to wear beards as part of their faith, but facial hair is apparently encouraged.

A memo written by commander Col. Curtis Shroedero to a 795th Military Police Battalion soldier who reportedly made the request stated, "I grant your accommodation, subject to the standards and limitations described below."

Members of US Armed Forces Told to Clap for Mike Pence Like They're 'At a Strip Club'


On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke with sailors of the USS Harry S. Truman in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Pence was scheduled to tour the aircraft carrier and to meet with local business leaders about the U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement referred to as USMCA, according to his office.

While at the event, journalist Brendan Ponton tweeted that people were being egged on to applaud for Pence.

“Sailors being instructed to ‘clap like we’re at a strip club’ when VP arrives (not kidding)” he tweeted.

Harris' Hollywood haul: Donors include Ben Affleck, Elizabeth Banks, Wanda Sykes


Hollywood donors are flocking to Kamala Harris.

Actors and actresses who wrote checks to the Harris campaign during the first three months of the year included Ben Affleck, who gave $2,800; Elizabeth Banks, who donated $5,600; Eva Longoria Baston, who donated $5,400; Alison Pill, who donated $360; Wanda Sykes, who donated $500; Lily Tomlin, who donated $525; and America Ferrera, who donated $250.

Filmmakers and studio executives were similarly supportive of Harris’ presidential bid: Filmmakers J.J. Abrams and Lee Daniels wrote Harris checks of $2,800 and $2,700, respectively. Hollywood fundraiser Jeffrey Katzenberg gave $2,800 to Harris, and former Fox Television Group Chairman Gary Newman gave $2,700.

Harris did not garner a herd of Hollywood supporters by accident. She has made an effort to court donors in Hollywood for years while holding statewide office in California, as well as during the early months of her presidential bid.

not sure about Ben but I really like Elizabeth Banks and love Wanda Sykes

WaPo Column-Bernie Sanders has emerged as the Donald Trump of the left


in politics, as in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Hence, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s emergence as the Donald Trump of the left.

Fundraising and polls show that many Democrats think the best answer to an angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flair for demagoguery is, well, another angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flair for demagoguery. It’s not difficult to picture a scenario in which Bernie captures the Democratic presidential nomination with the same formula that worked for Trump with Republicans in 2016.

On paper, the independent from Vermont doesn’t make sense: Democrats are a party of youth, and he’s 77; they are majority-female, and he’s a man; they represent the emerging multicultural America, and he is white. Statistically, he is the worst option against Trump: An NBC News poll this week found that there are more voters with concerns about Sanders (58 percent) than there are for former vice president Joe Biden (48 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (53 percent), Sen. Kamala D. Harris or former representative Beto O’Rourke (41 percent each).

Winston Churchill's Policies Responsible For Death of 3 Million Indians in 1943 Bengal Famine: Study


New Delhi, March 30: A fresh study conducted by a lead researcher at the IIT-Gandhinagar has pinned the blame on former late UK prime minister Winston Churchill for the death of nearly 3 million Indians in the 1943 Bengal famine. The tragedy, found the research, was exacerbated by the policy measures enacted by the then colonial regime on Churchill's directions.

Vimal Mishra, an associate professor at IIT-Gandhinagar, headed the study which analysed weather data to gauge the amount of soil moisture between 1870 to 1943 -- the period in which India faced six major famines. Amal Hussain, Malnourished Yemen Girl Whose Famous Photo Turned World’s Eyes to Famine, Is Dead.

Mishra said the need for his study stemmed from the fact that India has faced no major famine after independence. To ascertain the proposition that the lack of irrigation facilities were reason behind the severe droughts, a study was undertaken by him.

During the course of the research, it was found that policy measures enacted to combat drought play a major role in determining the number of fatalities.

Grindr Will Be Auctioned Off Due to National Security Concerns


A Chinese company that owns Grindr is being forced to sell the popular dating app following pressure from the U.S. government due to security risks.

Grindr, the world's largest app for queer people, will now be auctioned off, according to Reuters. Investment firm Cowen has already started shopping for buyers at Grindr executives’ request.

Sources say that the Committee on Foreign Investment grew agitated at Chinese ownership in part because the international sale skirted the committee’s review. Gaming company Beijing Kunlun bought a majority stake in Grindr, which operates out of West Hollywood, in 2016, and then acquired the entire company in 2017.

However, the federal agency immediately raised national security concerns about the financial situation. Now the committee is sounding the alarm over Chinese ownership of applications that track information on U.S. citizens through a forced sale.

Gilead Made $3 Billion Off Truvada in 2018 and It's Raising the Price


Many people know Truvada as the sky blue, 500mg tablet that people take daily to prevent HIV. But it’s something else all together: a cash cow for Gilead, the drug company that distributes the pill.

According to a new report in the Washington Post, Gilead Sciences earned $3 billion in sales from Truvada in 2018.

That’s an awful lot of profit, but here’s the catch: Gilead didn’t actually put up the money to prove Truvada could prevent HIV infection. You did. The research that went into making the drug, the Post reports, was done by Thomas Folks at a federally-funded U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab. Using $50 million in federal grants, Folks proved that Truvada could prevent HIV infection in people who were exposed to HIV.

The U.S. government owns the patent for Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis. The patent was filed in 2007 and approved in 2015. Truvada itself has been used as a drug to fight HIV since 2004 and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as PrEP in 2012. Despite owning the patent, the U.S. government gets no share of the profits, which it could use to find ways to get PrEP to the people who paid for its development.

Hospital Canceled Hysterectomy for Trans Man Minutes Before Surgery


A transgender man is suing a Catholic hospital in Northern California that canceled his hysterectomy minutes before the surgery was to begin.

Oliver Knight was scheduled to undergo the procedure in August 2017 at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. Knight, then 27, had experienced misgendering at the hospital and had been told to wear a pink gown rather than a blue one (which he preferred) because he was having “female” surgery, according to his lawsuit, which is being handled by the American Civil Liberties Union and was filed Thursday in Humboldt County Superior Court. But it is the only hospital in the area, and he hoped to receive his gender-confirmation surgery there.

After Knight went through three hours of pre-operative procedures, his doctor, Deepak Stokes, informed him that the hospital had canceled the surgery and would not reschedule it. Knight asked Stokes if it was canceled because he is transgender, and Stokes said yes. The Roman Catholic Church opposes “direct sterilization,” but the hospital routinely allows Stokes and other doctors to perform hysterectomies on cisgender women for a variety of conditions, the suit says. Hospital officials objected, however, to the surgery as a treatment for gender dysphoria.

Knight’s medical records show that the decision to cancel his surgery “was initiated by an ‘Ethics Assessment’ completed by David Groe … a reverend, with no medical training or medical licensure,” according to the suit, which goes on to say the cancellation of the surgery was in accordance with Catholic beliefs about gender.
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