Bad location

Zahed Tajeddin fulfilled his dream of buying a home in the old town of Aleppo but then the war came – and amid the bombs the old house was turned into a hospital.

J.K Rowling Delivers Strong Message To ‘Cool’ Guy Who Called Theresa May A ‘Whore’

Accio feminism.

J.K. Rowling doesn?t have time for liberal men who hurl misogynistic insults at women ? except to put them in their place.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election that was thought to be an easy victory for her. It wasn?t. May?s Conservative Party lost seats to Jeremy Corbyn?s Labour Party, prompting Corbyn to tell May to resign.

She didn?t. The election results left Britain with a so-called hung Parliament. The minority government then struck a deal with the smaller Democratic Union Party in order to maintain leadership. 

Not everyone was pleased with this outcome.

According to Rowling, a liberal man she follows, and has always liked, called May a ?whore? on Twitter. So the British author promptly unfollowed the man and tweeted her explanation for doing so:

Though Rowling?s response is powerful, it isn?t 100 percent perfect. While ?whore? can be used as a slur, some people have taken issue with Rowling?s claim that ?comparing a woman with a prostitute? is inherently offensive.

Perhaps Rowling, like the man she unfollowed, can take these criticisms and grow from them.

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Democratic Leaders Must Push For Impeachment Sooner Rather Than Later

Originally published at

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) is already drafting articles of impeachment related to Trump?s firing of FBI Director James Comey, believing there?s enough evidence of Trump?s obstruction of justice to begin an impeachment inquiry (not to mention Trump?s blatant violation of the Constitution?s emoluments clause by profiting off his presidency, and much else).

But Democratic leaders are pushing back, warning there aren?t enough facts to justify an impeachment inquiry at this point, and, in any event, such an inquiry would politicize ongoing congressional investigations. 


Historically, the three previous impeachment inquiries in the House (involving presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton) rested on less evidence of obstruction of justice than is already publicly known about Trump.

Comey?s testimony to Congress is itself more than enough ? confirming that Trump demanded Comey?s loyalty, asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn, repeatedly told Comey the FBI investigation was a ?cloud? on his presidency, and asked Comey to declare publicly that Trump wasn?t an object of the investigation.

In addition, we have Trump?s interview with Lester Holt on NBC and Trump?s subsequent meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office. In both instances, Trump connected his firing of Comey with the Russian investigation.

Also, bear in mind the obstructions of justice that caused the House to impeach previous presidents concerned issues far less serious than Trump?s possible collusion with a foreign power to win the election.

Democratic leaders say they don?t want to talk about impeachment now because they?re worried about politicizing the current congressional investigations, which aren?t impeachment inquiries. Hello? Republicans have already politicized them. 

The real reason Democratic leaders don?t want to seek an impeachment now is they know there?s zero chance that Republicans… would support such a move.

The real reason Democratic leaders don?t want to seek an impeachment now is they know there?s zero chance that Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, would support such a move. So why engage in a purely symbolic gesture? 

Democratic leaders figure that between now and the midterm elections there will be even more revelations from non-partisan sources ? future testimony by Trump operatives like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, early reports from Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s investigation, and leaks to the press ? that will build the case, and fuel more public outrage. 

That outrage will give Democrats a strong chance of taking back the House and maybe even the Senate. Then they?ll really impeach Trump.

I can?t argue with the political logic of Democratic leaders. And if their strategy will lead to Trump?s ouster sooner than any other way, I?m all for it.

But here?s the problem. It?s not clear America can wait for the midterm elections, followed by what?s likely to be a long and drawn-out impeachment investigation, followed by a trial in the Senate. (Note that none of the presidents listed above was ever convicted by the Senate and thrown out of office.) 

With each passing day, Donald Trump becomes a greater danger to America and the world. We don?t have time. 

The advantage of introducing a bill of impeachment now ? even attempting to do so ? is that such an action might itself galvanize the vast majority of Americans who want Trump out of office. It could mobilize and energize people around the most important immediate issue facing the country. 

Never underestimate the power of a public aroused to action. It is worth recalling that Nixon resigned of his own accord before the House had even voted out an impeachment resolution. The American public demanded it. 

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For Evanna Lynch, Life After Luna Lovegood Is A Different Kind Of Magic

Earlier this year, Evanna Lynch ? the actress who got her start when she was cast at Luna Lovegood in the ?Harry Potter? film series ? announced on Instagram that she was ready to take on new endeavors.

?I feel like I?m stuck in my 18-year-old self artistically when I actually have a lot more to say,? the actress wrote on Instagram, addressing her choice to move on from regularly attending ?Harry Potter? conventions.

Now, just a few months later, she?s starring in a forthcoming play in London, an update on Edna Walsh?s ?Disco Pigs,? a story about a pair of teens who speak in their own intimate, expressive language. Lynch says the play is in keeping with the types of roles she hopes to pursue in the future: bold characters and unabashed misfits.

Below, Lynch discusses her recent starring role in the indie film ?My Name is Emily,? and why she can?t help but return to Hogwarts stories, which, she says, have a ?resetting effect? on her.

First, I?d love to hear about  ?Disco Pigs.? How did you get involved with the project?

I wanted to do theater for a while, but I only recently moved to London so I only had that opportunity for a while.

I loved the script; it was so different from anything I?d read before. The language is so strange and idiosyncratic. I find the story very romantic. It?s these two teenagers, and they have their own little world. I always connect to characters who do things their own way, and who don?t really set their standards by other people.

What for you was the biggest difference between stage acting and on-screen acting? 

On-screen it?s nice because you get to film over a long period of time. Stage is different because ? for this play, anyway, it?s only an hour. Whereas on film you mull with it, you know, a month to six weeks, probably six to eight weeks, you?re with the character every single day, obsessed with them, thinking of them.

[In theater] you?re running on adrenaline. There?s a lot of fear. That aspect you don?t have in film, which is nice, it takes the pressure off.

You also had a fairly recent film that was released in the U.S. this year, ?My Name is Emily.? This was your first starring role in a film. How was that experience different from your past work?

For one thing it was an independent movie, so there were a lot fewer resources. More responsibility, which I find very exciting. I felt like I was more of a collaborator. And I don?t know if that?s just about the position I was in, or if that?s my age. Because when I started the ?Potter? films I was 14, I was more of a child, and on ?My Name Is Emily,? that was the first time I was a collaborating artist. That was really exciting.

I just focused on the work. I?m not trying to make friends with everyone. I?ve seen with other films, the central cast member will try to really welcome everyone and I thought about that, but it?s just not me. I?m quite shy, I?m quite introverted, I like to sit and watch people. I feel like that?s how I learn about people, how I study them. So, it wasn?t a whole lot different for me. Yes, there was added pressure, but you have to do everything you can to not think about the pressure. 

I think I went through most of primary school and high school just feeling like I hadn?t really met my people, and ?Harry Potter? felt like my people. They were the kind of friends I wanted to have.
Evanna Lynch

By the time you were cast as Luna you were already a fan of the ?Potter? books. What did you love most about the books?

I just loved it because it really felt like I understood the people ? the teenagers. I just felt like they were my friends. I loved that it was just like a bunch of misfits, and they were the heroes of the story. And I?d never read a book series before where the characters were so relatable, and inspiring in how relatable they were. I felt what they were doing, and what they were grappling with. The books just had this amazing ability to make me feel not alone. And I think I went through most of primary school and high school just feeling like I hadn?t really met my people, and ?Harry Potter? felt like my people. They were the kind of friends I wanted to have.

Of course it was also a more fascinating world than what I was involved in. It just made me believe in things that were different.

I actually read Prisoner of Azkaban around Christmastime. I had a craving for it; I don?t know why. I often do press events and conventions, and I get asked a lot of questions. It was a point of pride that I was like a walking encyclopedia for the books. And I realized my trivia had been slipping the last few years. I was like, oh, this can?t fall away. This is something I need to maintain.

It?s just me being a nerd. The books almost have a resetting effect on me. They bring me back to who I am. And the films are sort of different because it became a career, and it?s so entwined with who I am as a public figure, which I don?t want to think about when I?m reading. The books still remind me of who I am.

Do you have a favorite ?Potter? character besides Luna?

I always liked Dumbledore because he?s so wise, and he?s got such a deep mind and thinks so deeply on things, but he?s also able to enjoy the finer things in life. I like that.

And then recently I realized I really like [Gilderoy] Lockhart. I sort of admire that obliviousness he has. He doesn?t seem to be aware of what people think of him, or that not everyone wants his autograph. I think I?m probably too self-conscious. Not in an insecure way, but I have this paranoid thing where I?ll often think people are giving me a weird look or something. My best friend always points it out, he?s like, really, it?s not about you. [?] My mind makes up weird stories, and I started to really love Lockhart for how he doesn?t do that. He does the opposite. He assumes everyone loves him. I just think it?s so funny.

The films […] became a career, and it?s so entwined with who I am as a public figure, which I don?t want to think about when I?m reading. The books still remind me of who I am.

I want to ask about your activist work. It seems that you use your platform to promote your causes ? especially veganism. Do you foresee yourself trying for roles that promote your political message?

For me, art can be political, but I don?t think you should force it. I think the best way to make people feel is just story for the sake of story.

I mean, I do often think about maybe working on a book or something like that, told from the animals? eyes. The stories that really inspired me to be vegan ? well, vegetarian first, and then vegan ? and just to care about animals in the first place, were things like watching ?Babe,? or watching ?Chicken Run.? That, I think, is a very powerful tool. Other than that I do like to keep activism and art separate. I think if you try too hard for it to be worthy and have a message, it just ? I think it poisons it a little bit. Or, not poisons, but it loses its integrity.

Even books like ?Harry Potter,? I don?t feel like it?s trying to force it down our throats that like, fascism is bad, but you pick up those things by osmosis of what the characters feel. Those kinds of stories have a much more powerful effect on me personally.

What would you say you?re looking for most in acting roles going forward?

Bold characters. I always look up to people who are very unapologetic. Whether their morals are in line with mine ? say for example, the character in ?Disco Pigs.? She has no moral compass, really. She?s 17, for one thing. But they?re always eating sausages, they don?t give a damn. I didn?t see that as a reason not to admire her, because obviously that?s her blind spot, but what I liked about her was that she was so sure of what she was doing, such a unique person, such an individual. That?s what it is in characters. I just want to find something individual, something about them that makes them an outsider, and that encourages me to be more that way. Because I think if I?m around other people I tend to want to fit in. I think characters in books and in movies that are complete individuals and who are not apologizing for it, they remind me to be myself. That?s why I like the character Luna Lovegood so much. I just want to have more of that energy.

From June 1 to 30, HuffPost is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the very first ?Harry Potter? book by reminiscing about all things Hogwarts. Accio childhood memories.

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Employees Sue Chipotle, Claiming It Failed To Pay Them Overtime

Chipotle employees have sued the fast-casual restaurant chain for allegedly failing to pay overtime compensation, which they say they are entitled to under a recent Labor Department rule at the center of a separate court battle.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in a federal court in New Jersey, maintains that the Obama-era Labor Department rule ? which vastly expands overtime pay to salaried workers ? still applies, even though a federal judge in November issued a preliminary injunction to block the Labor Department from enforcing it. 

The suit seeks class-action status for employees like lead plaintiff Carmen Alvarez, one of Chipotle?s so-called ?apprentices,? or managers-in-training. Alvarez and others were not eligible for overtime under the old salary cap, but were eligible under the new one, said Joseph Sellers, a lawyer from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll who is among the representatives for the suit.

After the Obama administration finalized the rule change last year, Sellers said, Chipotle paid Alvarez and others for a few weeks for overtime they were newly qualified to receive. The payment stopped when the federal injunction against the rule was issued in late November. 

?The [Fair Labor Standards Act] has two ways of enforcing overtime rule. One is from [the] Department of Labor, and the other is individual parties,? Sellers explained. ?The injunction stops the Department of Labor, but says nothing about private enforcement.?

?We contend the rule went into effect,? Sellers added. As the lawsuit notes:

Although [the judge?s order] preliminarily enjoined the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the Overtime Rule, the Eastern District of Texas did not stay the effective date of the rule or otherwise prevent the rule from going into effect.

A spokesman for Chipotle told HuffPost in an email that the company doesn?t comment on pending litigation, adding: ?All of our employment practices are compliant with applicable laws. I would also note that a lawsuit is nothing more than allegation, and is proof of absolutely nothing.? 

Under President Barack Obama?s overhaul of the Fair Labor Standards Act, hourly and some salaried workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for any hours over 40 they work in a week. Salaried workers qualify if their annual income is below $47,476. The previous threshold of $23,660 had not been changed since the George W. Bush administration.

Exemptions to salaried employees applied if they earned more than the threshold amount, or if their duties were considered substantively managerial, like overseeing other workers or possessing hiring and firing power. (The Labor Department?s fact sheet address the full range of exemptions.)

The rule change had an effective date of Dec. 1, 2016. The Labor Department is expected to file a response to the injunction later this month. 

Chipotle has yet to formally respond to the suit. Sellers said the company will likely argue that the new rule never really went into effect because the injunction stopped it. 

?There?s been a widespread misbelief about the overtime rule,? Sellers said. ?I think a careful read of the law ? for people who want to follow the law ? [sees] this rule as in effect.?

Sellers suggested there?s been a snowball effect thanks to the rule?s ambiguity. If a business sees that other companies aren?t complying with the rule, it won?t comply either.

?What I hope this case helps to address is [what] the actual state of the law is, rather than what people?s perceptions may be,? he said. 

Plaintiffs are seeking back overtime pay, court costs and damages.  

The lawsuit is the latest legal and public-relations headache for Chipotle. A 2015 outbreak of E. coli has been blamed for an ongoing sales decline, while just last year, the company was sued by 10,000 employees alleging wage theft. Most recently, Chipotle suffered a security breach in which hackers stole customers? payment information, including credit card data. 

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Trump’s Pick To Lead FBI Is Low-Key, But ‘Cut From The Same Cloth’ As James Comey

WASHINGTON ? In 2004, shortly after James Comey rushed to the hospital to stop Bush White House officials from trying to get a bedridden John Ashcroft to reauthorize a surveillance program Comey believed was illegal, another top Department of Justice official stopped him in the hallway.

The DOJ official had gotten wind that a group of his senior colleagues, including Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller, were contemplating resigning. He told Comey that he would leave the department if they did.

?Look, I don?t know what?s going on, but before you guys all pull the rip cords, please give me a heads-up so I can jump with you,? Christopher Wray, the assistant attorney general who ran the department?s criminal division, told Comey, according to a 2008 report in The Washington Post.

Comey went on to become director of the FBI, but President Donald Trump fired him in May as the agency investigated possible collusion between Trump officials and Russia. On Wednesday, the president announced via Twitter that he would nominate Wray to succeed Comey.

Trump doesn?t like Comey. But former colleagues say Wray shares some of the characteristics of his predecessor.

?Chris, in so many ways, is cut from the same cloth as James Comey is,?  Bill Mateja, who worked with Wray in George W. Bush?s Justice Department, told HuffPost. ?They have terrific moral compasses, and they?re very motivated to do the right thing and will do the right thing no matter what.?

Wray is, however, ?much more introverted? than Comey, Mateja said. He said Comey and Wray had a strong relationship.

They have terrific moral compasses, and they?re very motivated to do the right thing and will do the right thing no matter what.
Bill Mateja, former colleague of Chris Wray

While Wray earned bipartisan praise after Trump?s announcement, his work on Bush-era programs and some of his work in private practice is sure to raise questions during his confirmation hearings. Wray represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) during the ?Bridgegate? trial, in which two of the governor?s top former aides were sent to prison for their role in closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge for political retaliation. The governor was not charged.

Another partner at Wray?s firm, King and Spalding, is an adviser to the trust that holds Trump?s business assets. The firm has done work on energy issues in Russia, and a 2016 biography of Wray on the firm?s site noted he represented ?an energy company president in a criminal investigation by Russian authorities.?

Wray was also involved in a Republican effort under Bush to crack down on voter fraud, which didn?t turn up much. (Trump has claimed there was widespread fraud in the 2016 election, but offered no evidence.) As part of a 2008 Inspector General investigation into allegations that Democrats and liberals were being unfairly blocked from the Attorney General?s Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program, Wray told investigators ideology was only considered in hiring to make the program more diverse.

He did not donate to either presidential candidate in 2016, but has donated to Republicans in the past, including Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. 

In 2003, he provided briefings to Ashcroft on an investigation into who unmasked Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, amid concern the attorney general was too involved in an investigation involving political allies.

?Christopher Wray?s firm?s legal work for the Trump family, his history of partisan activity, as well as his history of defending Trump?s transition director during a criminal scandal makes us question his ability to lead the FBI with the independence, even-handed judgment, and commitment to the rule of law that the agency deserves,? Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

?Given that Wray touts his deep involvement in the Bush administration?s response to the 9/11 attacks, which includes his connections to some of the most unlawful legal memos on Bush-era torture programs, the Senate should press Wray to come clean about his role in the programs,? Shakir added. 

Wray was just 36 when he was nominated to lead the DOJ?s criminal division in 2003, making him the youngest lawyer to lead the division in two decades at a time when there was significant emphasis on counterterrorism initiatives. He had joined the department six years earlier, as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Atlanta before becoming an associate deputy attorney general in 2001.

Some people wondered whether Wray was too young for the job, but he earned praise from department colleagues, including Comey, who told the National Law Journal at the time that Wray was a ?spectacular choice.?

He also earned a reputation for not getting tied up in office politics and being a hard worker. Trump has publicly criticized Comey as a ?showboat? and ?grandstander.?

?The hard cases would inevitably be assigned to him. The guy comes in to work. He doesn?t gossip. He stays as long as it takes. He?d be there on the weekends when the air conditioner wasn?t running,? Daniel Griffin, who worked with Wray in the U.S. attorney?s office, told the National Law Journal in 2003.

On his first day at the Department of Justice, Wray was tasked with figuring out how the FBI had misplaced boxes during the trial of Timothy McVeigh, who was sentenced to death for setting off a bomb at a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 that killed 168 people.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1992, Wray went to clerk for J. Michael Luttig, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, where his modesty made an impression.

?He?s not flashy. He?s not showy. He?s understated,? Luttig told The New York Times.

Wray began his career as a federal prosecutor working on violent crime cases, but eventually moved more toward fraud and public corruption, according to the National Law Journal. As head of the criminal division, he pursued high-profile corruption cases against lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Reps. Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.) and William Jefferson (D-La.). He also oversaw the Enron Task Force, charged with investigating and prosecuting officials after the company?s collapse.

Mateja, the former DOJ official who served with Wray in the deputy attorney general?s office, said Wray was not traditionally partisan. 

?There?s no denying that Chris is a Republican, but there?s a difference between Republicans that serve in public offices who are deeply Republican, versus those who just happen to be Republican,? he said. ?Chris is one of those ones where he doesn?t wear politics on his sleeve.?

But Mateja said Wray was a conservative who grew up in a Justice Department run by Ashcroft. And, if confirmed, Wray could spend the next 10 years of his term shaping the bureau.

?His vision can?t help but be formed by that experience,? Mateja said. ?He?s going to approach things much more in that conservative, Republican tone than what we saw over the last eight years, that?s for sure.?

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