Monthly Archives: January 2018

GOP Congressman Looks Down On Protesters From Roof, Becomes Instant Meme

A GOP congressman became an instant meme after taking to the roof of his district office to photograph protesters on the street below.

Social media users drew instant comparisons between Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Michael Scott, the bungling boss from ?The Office,? following Tuesday?s bizarre incident at his office in Vista.

There were conflicting reports as to why Issa decided to go up on the roof in the first place. The lawmaker himself said he?d ?spent the morning talking with constituents gathered outside the office? before going up ?to take a quick pic.?

His opponents, however, alleged that he scurried up onto the roof because he was ?too afraid? to speak with the protesters below.

Constituents have been holding weekly rallies to voice concerns over President Donald Trump?s immigration and health care policies, according to NBC San Diego. Here?s a sampling of the best responses so far:

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage articlesList=5927ea41e4b06f608053826d,5927d1a4e4b0df34c35b19fd,5927d7f5e4b01b9a5937e44a,592919c1e4b0065b20b6c82c

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

As Trump’s Aides Touted His Alliance-Building, European Leaders Mocked And Disparaged Him

BRUSSELS ? Donald Trump?s first trip abroad as president showed ?how quickly and decisively? he ?is acting to strengthen alliances,? White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

But if Trump strengthened America?s alliances in Europe, no one told America?s European allies. Instead, in remarks ranging from cautionary to disparaging, European heads of state have described a churlish, impulsive American leader whose actions have alienated them and threaten to upend the U.S.-led post-World War II international order.

Interacting with Trump showed German Prime Minister Angela Merkel ?that we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,? she said Sunday. Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron?s noticeably tense and lengthy handshake with Trump was a deliberate effort to ?show that we won?t make little concessions, even symbolic ones,? he told a French outlet in an interview published Sunday. And as Spicer boasted of the president?s successful alliance-building, a picture of European leaders openly mocking the U.S. president was making its way around Twitter. In a photograph that quickly went viral, the prime ministers of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland gathered around a soccer ball in a pose that bore an obvious resemblance to a recent picture of Trump and the heads of Egypt and Saudi Arabia placing their hands on a glowing orb to symbolize counterterrorism cooperation.

Disagreements between Washington and its allies across the Atlantic are not unprecedented, and Spicer spun Merkel?s statement as a positive development, suggesting it fulfilled Trump?s long-stated goal of getting European countries to take greater ownership of their security.

But even at historic low points ? the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the 2013 revelation that the U.S. spied on Merkel ? tensions centered around policy disagreements. The rhetoric now, said Spencer Boyer, a former national intelligence officer for Europe, is ?about whether or not Europe can depend on the U.S. as a partner.?

That?s a different sort of problem, says Sheri Berman, a professor at Barnard College. ?The fewer allies that we have that we can call upon reflexively, the more difficult world politics is,? she said. ?If the Europeans pull together and choose not to cooperate with us on a variety of things ? Iran, the Middle East, international economics ? that makes it harder to get anything done.?

There could be an element of domestic political calculation at play for leaders in Europe. Macron recently prevailed in French elections in which Trump openly rooted for his opponent. And elections are approaching in Germany, where even Merkel?s main rival criticized Trump?s treatment of the chancellor. At the same time, it is a risky move for a head of state to criticize the president of the United States ? and Merkel is notoriously measured in her public remarks.  

?For her, this is the equivalent of running around screaming with her hair on fire,? Berman said of Merkel. ?She does not blurt things out, she does not make extreme statements, she does not say things that veer from past statements easily.?

For [Merkel], this is the equivalent of running around screaming with her hair on fire … She does not blurt things out, she does not make extreme statements, she does not say things that veer from past statements easily.?
Sheri Berman, professor at Barnard College

European allies have worried since the night of Trump?s election what it would mean for their decades-long relationship with the U.S., given Trump?s campaign rhetoric about cutting back on defense support to allies unless they pay more for protection. During the transition and in the early weeks of the new administration, Trump?s top aides worked to defuse some of the tension by assuring their foreign counterparts that U.S. policy was not going to change much, if at all. Defense Secretary James Mattis has jokingly referred to himself as the ?Secretary of Reassurance? in meetings with NATO allies.

For foreign leaders who hoped Trump?s policies as president wouldn?t match his campaign rhetoric, his comments during his trip to Europe came as a disappointment. When they gathered at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, European leaders expected Trump to reaffirm the idea of collective security ? and maybe even say some kind words about the new memorial to commemorate the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Instead, Trump scolded them for not spending enough money on defense and thereby taking advantage of American taxpayers.

?Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they?re supposed to be paying for their defense,? Trump said Thursday. ?This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years.? 

Trump made no mention of Article 5 of NATO?s charter, the principle that an attack on one member is an attack on all. (Spicer later said that Trump?s commitment to the NATO charter was implicit and that it was ?a bit silly? to expect him to state it outright.)

Trump?s next stop did not go much better. In Taormina, Italy, at the G-7 summit of the world?s leading democratically run economic powers, Trump quickly found himself in conflict with the other six. Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Italy all wanted Trump to honor a 2015 global agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions to combat climate change. Trump declined, saying he would decide later. At the same time, Trump picked a fight with Germany over its trade policy that Trump argued gave German manufacturers an unfair advantage in selling cars in the U.S. (Germany has no specific trade agreement with the United States, and instead follows the same protocols as any other European Union country.)

?The trip was unfortunately a failure by any objective standard,? Boyer said. It ?left European allies rattled? and contributed to the emerging ?image of the U.S. as an unreliable and unpredictable partner,? Boyer continued.

For now, the Trump administration might believe that Europeans needed to be rattled into taking responsibility for their own defense, even if it compromises their relationship with the U.S. Trump?s foreign policy is predicated on the idea that NATO members need America more than American needs them. But presidents often find that they need allies in times of crisis. The heart of the NATO charter is Article 5, the collective defense provision. But it was never used during the Cold War. It was only invoked for the first time 16 years ago ? on September 12, 2001.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

‘The Bachelorette’ Season 13, Episode 2: ‘Here To Make Friends’ Podcast

One brainy beauty with a thousand-watt smile. Thirty-one strong-jawed suitors. It?s the 13th season of ?The Bachelorette,? featuring Dallas attorney Rachel Lindsay?s journey to love.

This week, Rachel hosted Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Copper the dog was treated to a big day out; and one bachelor was sent home in ignominy after an ex-girlfriend turned up to air some grievances. On the podcast, Claire Fallon, Emma Gray, and guest Kevin Nguyen discuss the etiquette of ghosting, dog pool parties, and being husband material:

Do people love ?The Bachelor,? ?The Bachelorette? and ?Bachelor in Paradise,? or do they love to hate these shows? It?s unclear. But here at ?Here to Make Friends,? we both love and love to hate them ? and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

Follow Claire Fallon and Emma Gray on Twitter. 

Want more ?Bachelorette? stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPost?s Entertainment email for extra hot goss about Rachel, her 31 bachelors, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some Netflix and podcast recs, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the email here.

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related… articlesList=592c32d7e4b053f2d2ad6986,59232998e4b03b485cb3d554,58c1ce8ae4b0ed71826b52ef

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

The Black Church Matters To Black Lives

The tragedy of the loss of black lives to violent crime ebbs and flows into the nation?s consciousness.

The national media may pay attention to the murder of a celebrity?s relative, such as Dwayne Wade?s cousin being caught in a crossfire while pushing a stroller down the street. Just as a particularly tragic event, such as a toddler being killed by a stray bullet, may also merit extended coverage.

But that news cycle quickly gives way to other outrages, and the ongoing costs of violence in disadvantaged communities in cities such as Chicago recedes from view.

Yet one social institution remained in those neighborhoods when businesses, the middle class, and predominantly white religious communities fled. And that institution is making a significant difference, according to new research.

The black church.

A new study analyzing data from 733 U.S. counties revealed that homicide, robbery, burglary and larceny rates all decreased the more people in the county were active in black Protestant churches.

And where it can do the most good, the black church is doing the most good, the study found.

The protective effect of black Protestant adherence on violence and property crime was higher in areas with conditions such as low education and high rates of poverty and unemployment that are predictors of high crime rates.

Some may question whether the black church still matters, study researchers Casey Harris of the University of Arkansas and Jeffery Ulmer of Pennsylvania State University stated in The Sociological Quarterly.

?Our study suggests that lamenting the decline of the black church is premature,? they wrote. ?Not only does the black church still appear to matter, but it seems especially relevant in the most disadvantaged underclass communities featured prominently in public discourse.?

Faith matters

Harris and Ulmer said their study is the first of its kind to take a comprehensive look at the effect the black Protestant church has on crime rates across large numbers of black communities throughout the U.S.

They analyzed study data from the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study, and county-level crime data from 2009 to 2011. The 733 counties studied encompass 80 percent of the black population and more than 75 percent of the black violent crime arrests in the United States.

The key findings include:

? Counties where black Protestant adherence was more pervasive had lower rates of all forms of crime. After controlling for other key differences across communities, homicides declined by about 2 percent for every 1 percentage point increase in the population of Black Protestant adherents. Robbery, burglary, and larceny declined by about 3 percent.

? The effect was unique to the black church. ?Indeed, our findings suggest not only that black Protestantism matters in black communities, but that other religious groups have few, if any, comparable effects,? the researchers said.

? The protective, negative effect of the black church on both violence and property crime was even stronger in communities with greater degrees of poverty, unemployment, female-headed households and educational disadvantage.

?Not only does black Protestant adherence protect against crime (particularly black crime), it also blunts the deleterious, violence-fostering effect of concentrated poverty,? the researchers noted.

Social bonds

The study methodology did not allow enable researchers to cite specific reasons for the relation between reduced crime and black Protestantism.

But Harris and Ulmer noted the findings were consistent with past research showing the impact the black church can have on the larger social environment of communities.

Several studies and surveys have shown black Americans retain remarkably strong levels of religious beliefs and practices. And that spiritual core is having an impact on community life in areas from health to economic empowerment.

Some recent studies also build on past research in revealing how this special faith continues to be associated with positive outcomes for black Americans amid the realities of discrimination and economic, political and social inequality.

As a crime stopper, faith may be particularly effective in building social ties and support, setting moral norms and investing communities with a sense of meaning and purpose that can reduce cynicism, Harris and Ulmer noted.

What did appear clear in their research is that the black church matters to black lives.

And particularly in inner-city neighborhoods struggling with poverty, crime and unemployment.

Ulmer said the black church might be ?one of the best community institutions? for addressing social problems such as violent crime in the black community.

If the black church moved out of disadvantaged areas, he said, ?things might really go downhill. That community might feel abandoned.?

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Usain Bolt Confirms That Unbelievable Rumor About Chicken McNuggets

Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive. Coincidentally, he also gives the world?s fastest toast. 

HuffPost recently spoke with the Olympian about his Champagne habits, as part of his new role as CEO ? chief entertainment officer ? for G.H. Mumm.

He regaled us with the best tips for Champagne showers, confirmed one of the greatest fast food legends about him and told us about racing a (cheating) Prince Harry. Read below for the highlights of the interview.

HuffPost: Do you have any good toasts that you like to give?

Usain Bolt: One toast that I give out that my friends always remember and laugh about ? ?Just shut up and drink.? [Laughs]. That?s my toast, most of the time for my friend group. It?s something that I always do: ?Shut up and drink!?

What?s the best thing to do with Champagne besides drink it?

I think everybody lives for a Champagne shower. I think that?s one of the biggest things that people enjoy when you?re celebrating. The first time that I actually got to do a big one was in Melbourne when I was at the Nitro Athletics track meet. My team won and after that we sprayed Champagne. I think it was the most fun as an athlete I?ve ever had. 

I?ve never done a champagne shower before. What?s it like and what are some tips?

You have to do it. Spraying people with Champagne when they?re running around is a really good feeling. Sneak up on them ? that?s the key thing ? don?t let them see you coming.

Do you ever get hangovers?
No ? not right now. When I was younger.

Do you have any hangover cures?

Just eat as much food as possible. That?s what somebody told me to help soak up that alcohol, so when I was younger that?s what I usually did. As soon as you wake up, just keep having food and drinking water.

G.H. Mumm is all about the motto ?dare, win, celebrate.? What?s the best dare you ever done?

One time me and my friends we went to a villa. I remember it was at night and we couldn?t see the water over a dock ? the owners built [a dock] out into the water and we couldn?t see the water. And my friends yelled, ?Yo, I dare you to jump head first into the water.? And I was like, ?Ah!!? because there was no light out there you couldn?t see anything. We were kinda drinking so? [laughs].

Did you get anything for doing that?

Naw, it was just men so we were just ?Uh ? if you don?t do it….? I was like, ?Alright alright alright.? I don?t think they would build a dock into stones, you know what I mean? That was the only thing that I had to go on.

Do you have a certain meal you eat after winning gold?

As long as it?s fast food, I?m fine. I think that?s the only time I get [it], because most of the time it?s always late [when we finish] so we always stop at a fast food place.

Is it true at the Beijing Olympics you ate around 1,000 chicken nuggets?

I ate a lot. I don?t know how much I had, but it was a lot. A thousand is probably right. If I think about it, it?s probably a thousand.

You?ve raced against Prince Harry. Who is your fave celebrity that?s challenged you to a race?

Micky Rourke. I?ll never forget, it was so funny. I was actually in London, I was coming out of the club. He was in the club and he saw me and was like, ?Ahhh Aren?t you the fastest man ever?? And I said, ?Yeah? and he said, ?Let?s go. We have to race.? He took his shoes off and we raced in the streets. It was pretty funny and cool.

What was it like racing against Prince Harry?

He cheated [laughs], but it was pretty fun ? he?s really laid back and he was pretty fun to just hang out with. And I remember when he came to Jamaica he had a horse that they called ?Usain Colt.? And then when I saw him a year after he was like, ?Ah [the horse] was a bust, he was no good.?

Your retirement is coming up, so what are you looking forward to doing the most?

Doing nothing.

What about trying out for a soccer team

I?m definitely gonna try out, we?ll see what happens. But just looking forward to doing nothing, absolutely.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related… articlesList=57eb89a1e4b0c2407cda81d5,57bc6829e4b00d9c3a1a075e,57b955b5e4b03d513688d2b4

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.