Democrats working on independent Russia probe

Democrats on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee have been undertaking their own investigation, without Republicans, on what they term “Russia’s malign influence around the world,” a spokesman for the Democratic side of the committee said on Wednesday.

Sean Bartlett, a spokesman for Senator Ben Cardin, who has been leading the effort, said the Democrats are preparing a “major report” on how Russia seeks to sow distrust and confusion, promote radical voices on divisive issues and gain leverage, while eroding support for democracy and institutions.

Full Article: Reuters

Multiple women accuse Minnesota state Senator Dan Schoen of sexual harassment

Minnesota state Sen. Dan Schoen sexually harassed women involved in state politics while serving as a DFL lawmaker, according to multiple women who have spoken to MinnPost. Schoen, currently a first-term senator from St. Paul Park, previously served two terms in the House. He also works as a paramedic and police officer in Cottage Grove.

The women describe behavior by Schoen that ranges from persistent and unwanted invitations to meet to physically grabbing a woman from behind. One woman, who asked to not be identified, said he sent her a photo of male genitalia via Snapchat.

Schoen, who was presented with the allegations in a meeting with MinnPost, was aware of each incident but said in a subsequent statement that the allegations are “either completely false or have been taken far out of context. It was never my intention to leave the impression I was making an inappropriate advance on anyone. I feel terrible that someone may have a different interpretation of an encounter, but that is the absolute truth. I also unequivocally deny that I ever made inappropriate contact with anyone.”

Full Article: Minnesota Post

Why California NAACP wants ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ removed as national anthem

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The California chapter of the NAACP has called “The Star-Spangled Banner” a “racist” and “anti-black” song, and says it will call on Congress to remove it as the national anthem, The Sacramento Bee reported.

At issue is a portion of the third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” — which is rarely sung beyond its first verse at major sporting events — that reads: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

Congress enshrined “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem in 1931.

Full Article: LA Times

Rep. Bob Goodlatte Announces He’s Retiring in 2018

One day after Democrats swept multiple races including the governorship of Virginia, Rep. Bob Goodlatte became the latest Republican to announce his retirement from Congress.

He follows Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker and numerous Republican representativesto the exit.

Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced on Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Full Article: CNS News

Good, get rid of another swampling and get some fresh blood in there.

Charlie Sheen accused of watching ‘gay porn featuring teen boys’ in unearthed divorce papers

Amid rape accusations directed at Charlie Sheen’s, allegations made against the actor by ex-wife Denise Richards in her filings for divorce have resurfaced.

Sheen, 52, has categorically denied claims that he raped Corey Haim when the child star was 13 years old.

As Sheen’s name is in headlines, the 2006 divorce papers filed by Denise Richards have resurfaced, containing disturbing allegations that Sheen watched gay pornography featuring what Richards claimed were underage boys.

Full Article: Metro UK

Michigan’s GOP-led Senate OKs concealed guns in schools, churches, bars

Licensed gun owners with extra training could legally carry inside schools, churches, bars and other pistol-free zones under hotly contested legislation that was approved Wednesday by the Republican-led Michigan Senate, days after the Texas church massacre.

The bills were sent to the GOP-led House for consideration next. They face an uncertain future because Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed a similar plan in 2012 following the mass shooting of elementary schoolchildren in Connecticut.

Snyder is not commenting on the new legislation until, or if, it wins final legislative passage.

Full Article: New York Post

Kevin Spacey airbrushed from new movie

Kevin Spacey has been replaced by Christopher Plummer in All The Money In The World, just six weeks before the big-budget movie’s release date.

The actor, 58, has been written out of the film in a bold move by director Ridley Scott in the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations.

The cast and crew have all agreed to re-shoot Spacey’s scenes, and are said to be ‘determined’ to stick to the December 22 release date, Deadline reports.

Full Article:

Saudi Arabia Tells Its Citizens to Leave Lebanon

The political party of Prime Minister Saad Hariri is calling for his immediate return to Lebanon after he announced his resignation in strange, pre-recorded statement from Saudi Arabia.

Following a meeting of his Saudi-aligned Future Party in Beirut Thursday, the party issued a statement saying it was “necessary” for Hariri to return “to restore Lebanon’s dignity and respect.”

The statement read by former Prime Minister Fuad Saniora seemed to indicate that Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia against his will.

Full Article: Bloomberg News

Man who claimed to be first ‘Dreamer’ deported under Trump arrested again for allegedly trying to enter US

A man who claimed to be the first “Dreamer” to be deported under the Trump administration was arrested again for attempting to return to the U.S. for the second time this year, authorities said Wednesday.

Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was taken into custody near Calexico, Calif., for illegally re-entering the U.S. late Monday night, the U.S. Border Patrol said.

Montes was spotted by agents just north of a border fence, and allegedly ran from them for about 200 yards before lying down. He then attempted to get up again and run, but was quickly caught, the Border Patrol said.

Full Article: FoxNews

Arizona man found guilty of murder after locking girl in box: court official

An Arizona man was found guilty on Wednesday of murder and other charges in the death of a 10-year-old girl who was locked in a small bin for taking a Popsicle without permission, a court official said.

The verdict by the Maricopa County jury allows the trial of John Allen, 29, to move to the penalty phase, in which the panel will determine if he should face the death penalty, court spokesman Vincent Funari said in a statement. That phase begins on Thursday and could take weeks, he said.

Sammantha Allen, John Allen’s wife, was sentenced to death in August after she was also convicted of murder in the 2011 death of 10-year-old Ame Deal, who was her cousin.

Full Article: Reuters