Nicki Minaj reveals in Instagram post that she married Kenneth Petty

23 0 22 Oct 2019

Nicki Minaj revealed in an Instagram post to her 106 million followers that she married Kenneth Petty.

The Grammy-nominated rapper, who was born Onika Tanya Maraj, announced the news Monday night with a video showing off custom “Mr.” and “Mrs.” coffee mugs on a table with a white “Bride” baseball hat and a black “Groom” hat.

She captioned the video with her new name and presumed wedding date. “Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty 10•21•19,” she wrote.

In an episode earlier this summer on her Beats1 radio show, “Queen Radio,” Minaj revealed that she got a marriage license with Petty.

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The video has been viewed more than 3 million times and several of the rapper’s celebrity friends filled the comments section with well-wishes.

“Congratulations to you both on your beautiful union,” model Naomi Campbell wrote.

“Congrats Nicki!!!!!!u did it,” television personality and actress La La Anthony posted, while model Winnie Harlow told Minaj that she deserves “all the happiness in the world.”

The wedding comes more than a month after the 36-year-old tweeted that she planned on retiring so she could focus on having a family.

“I’ve decided to retire & have my family. I know you guys are happy now,” Minaj, who goes by Mrs. Petty on Twitter, wrote in September. “To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, in the box- cuz ain’t nobody checkin me. Love you for LIFE.”

She later deleted the tweet and apologized after fans began to panic over the idea of her leaving music.

“I’m still right here. Still madly in love with you guys & you know that,” she tweeted to one fan. “The tweet was abrupt & insensitive, I apologize babe.”

During an interview with the entertainment blog The Shade Room that was posted Sunday, Minaj explained that the tweet was about whether she wanted to record another album.

“When I posted that retirement tweet, I knew that I still had music that I already had recorded that was still going to come out. So the retirement was kind of talking about my album, meaning like, ‘Do I want to go back and record my fifth album?'” she said, hinting that she has a few features with other artists lined up.

Easy Halloween decoration ideas for under $25

29 0 22 Oct 2019

The countdown to one of the most expensive holidays is on, and no, we’re not talking about Christmas; we’re talking about Halloween. A new report from CompareCards by LendingTree found that 32 percent of millennials and 25 percent of Gen Xers say that they spend more on Halloween than any other holiday.

As a Halloween enthusiast who almost always ends up hosting some kind of festive shindig, I admit to spending embarrassing amounts of money on this holiday. This year, I had nearly decided to skip Halloween altogether in order to crack down on building up my savings, but after talking with deals and decorating experts, it occurred to me that I can enjoy this holiday as I normally would (by throwing a party), without sacrificing oodles of cash or time.

Use social media to inspire less buying and more sustainable decorating

The CompareCards report found that 48 percent of millennials (along with 37 percent of Gen Zers and 30 percent of Gen Xers) purchase Halloween items so that they can include them in social media posts. Rather than using social media as a motivation to spend, use it as a motivation to DIY; you’ll find no shortage of inspiration on platforms like Pinterest.

“This year, people are searching and saving inspiration for DIY decor, with ideas for upcycling items you might already have lying around your home,” says Swasti Sarna, Insights Manager at Pinterest. “Not only does re-purposing old items save money, but it’s a great way to practice sustainability.”

Spider webs are cheap and easy to drape quickly over your normal home decor.Kelley Nan

Get creative with what you have on hand and focus on just a few key areas

“When it comes to seasonal decor — especially Halloween — an easy and affordable approach is to consider what existing, year-round decor you already have and then adding a holiday-specific element to it. You don’t have to overhaul to be effective,” says Kelley Nan, creator of Gracious Living. “Spider webs are cheap and easy to drape quickly; spare bones (which can be found inexpensively at retailers like At Home) can be used in a centerpiece, at place settings, or at a drink station; and scattered candles — the more, the better.”

Keep in mind that you needn’t decorate all of your house, or even much of the inside to create a sumptuously ghoulish destination.

“For a holiday such as Halloween, I suggest concentrating on just a few focal areas to decorate. First of all, your front door and/or porch. Add some lanterns with LED candles on your porch, scatter a few pumpkins with faux spiders hot glued to them and a big spider crawling across the wall,” says Jennifer Griffin, the mind behind the DIY lifestyle and home decor blog Dimples and Tangles. “It’s easy to add just a few accessories there to make a big impact. Gather some sticks or branches from the yard, put them in a vase and add a few fake spiders to the twigs, then add a few small pumpkins from the produce section at the grocery store beside the vase.”

Avoid buying seasonal/Halloween-themed items

“Yes, that tablecloth with bats and spiderwebs all over it is perfect for a Halloween party,” says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with “But if you give your party a color theme, solid tablecloths are cheaper than themed ones and will fit your spooky aesthetic perfectly. Don’t buy sugar cookie dough with the bat or ghost design — opt for regular ones instead and then decorate yourself.”

Go for a big batch of punch instead of individual cocktails

“Crafting individual cocktails can be festive, but it’s also a surefire way to make sure you go through a ton of booze or other ingredients, depending on how big your guest list is,” says Ramhold. “Instead, pick a simple seasonal punch recipe, and make a big bowl of it. Check on it periodically throughout the party to refresh if needed.”

Make it spooky by adding plastic eyeballs or spiders (which you can pick up at the dollar store). Or go one step further and create a floating hand by freezing water or juice in a plastic glove.

To make your gathering friendly to people who don’t drink, put the booze on the side and not in the punch. Or, simply remind people to BYOB.

Make your own baked goods

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“It’s so tempting to buy ready-made goodies like Rice Krispy Treats, but you’ll save more money by just making a big batch on your own,” says Ramhold. “Not only will you save on ingredients in the long run, but you’ll also know exactly what’s going into your party goods. The same goes for cookies and brownies, too — you’ll get way more bang for your buck and your ingredients if you make them yourself.”

Kristin Gambaccini of Perfectly DeStressed scored both a vintage bike and a skeleton for just $10 on Facebook Marketplace.Kristin Gambaccini

Check out thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace

Check out local thrift stores for knick-knacks (you’re almost guaranteed to find things like an excess of vases for those broken twig bouquets). You might also turn to Facebook Marketplace for last minute deals on just about anything.

“I use Facebook Marketplace as my first — and sometimes only — stop for all of my holiday party needs,” says Kristin Gambaccini of Perfectly DeStressed, who scored both a vintage bike and a skeleton for a total of $10 on Marketplace. “I paired them together for a fun twist. I [also] purchased vintage-looking bottles for only $3 to create faux apothecary potions. They can even be filled with apple cider or spiked party punch for a fun and totally different way to serve your guests.”

If you’re not sure what to search for on Facebook Marketplace, consider the following keywords: “mirrors”, “candles”, “theater props”, “skeleton”,“skull”, “clowns”, “gothic” and of course, “Halloween”.

A DIY decor shopping guide for under $25

This coming weekend, I’ll be throwing yet another Halloween shindig, with the goal of spending no more than $25 on decor for the common areas of the house. I came up with the hard spending limit of $25 rather ambitiously — thinking it was probably half of what I would actually end up spending — but after scouring Pinterest and Instagram for ideas, I’m realizing that this is a pretty reasonable budget.

Here’s a look at some of the coolest and easiest Halloween DIY decor concepts floating around social media. Though you really only need to implement a few of these decorations to curate a spooktacular party mood, you can also do them all for under $25.

Making your own cutout bats with black construction paper is incredibly easy, fun for kids and can bring an understated elegance to any wall, table or shelf. You can download free printable bat template from sites like FirstPalette, or you can do it the old-fashioned with a sheet of paper, a drawing utensil and a pair of scissors. The beauty here is that you don’t have to be too precise in your craftsmanship. You can also get creative by attempting crows, mice, cats and other critters. You can order a 50-sheet stack of black construction paper on Amazon for $6.95. If you’re planning to make a lot of cutout creatures, this might be your cheapest bet, otherwise I recommend dropping by a dollar store. For the sake of this $25 guide, we’re going ahead and pricing this decoration at $6.95, in which case you’d have a remaining budget of $18.05.

SunWorks Construction Paper

Serving wine at your party? Wrap a thick white ribbon (or gauze) around the bottles instead of ribbon and slap on a pair of googly eyes to turn them into mummies. You can also use this decoration with used wine bottles that were otherwise headed toward recycling. Same goes for jars, pillar candle holders, and even water bottles. You can make the googly eyes using a black sharpie, white paper and a pair of scissors — or nab a bag of 500 self-adhesive peepers on Amazon for $3.56. Remaining budget if you go the Amazon route: $14.49.

DECORA Googly Eyes with Self-Adhesive

A bag of assorted toy cockroaches goes for $4.60 on Amazon. To give your guests an unexpected scare, stuff a couple of these creepy crawlers in your bathroom’s soap dispenser to make it look like these bugs are steeped in slime or formaldehyde. You can also use these to give a punch bowl or jello mold an added “ew” factor. If you’re going for something edible, you can save money by simply adding gummy worms instead of insects, which is what I’ll be doing. A bag of gummy worms shouldn’t cost you more than two bucks at a supermarket. Remaining budget if you go the gummy way: $12.49.

Fake Roaches

Serving jello shots? Prepare them as you normally would, but rather than leaving them to set in a paper shot glass, suck up the liquid with plastic syringes and set those on a track in the fridge to cool. For kids and/or sober guests, booze-free jello syringe shots are just as easy and indeed cheaper to make. A 12-pack of plastic syringes (sans needle, of course), aka, “gelatin injectors” goes for $7.89 on Amazon, but you can likely find them for less at your local medical supply store. If you do buy on Amazon, you have a remaining budget of $4.60.

Party Essentials Gelatin Syringe Injectors

As Nan notes, fake spider webs are cheap, and the stretchable kind can go a long way. You can get 200 square feet of stretch spider web on Amazon for $4.35, leaving you with 25 cents to burn.

Fun World Costumes Super Stretch Spider Web

There are tons of other party decor tricks you can DIY without spending any money — you just have to use your imagination. For instance, do you have a pair of old stockings and black heels lying around? If so, you’ve got yourself a free and easy-to-assemble decoration right there.

“Stuff the stockings with newspaper and put them into the shoes, then place this under a welcome mat or hang it in a tree as a fun display that looks like a witch or other person has gotten stuck,” says Stacy Caprio, blog manager at Deals Scoop. “The key is to use what you have on hand and get creative to make fun decorations those around you will notice and appreciate.”

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Nearly 900 womens health clinics have lost federal funding over gag rule

16 0 22 Oct 2019

Nearly 900 women’s health clinics nationwide have lost federal funds after the Trump administration implemented a “domestic gag rule” to a federal family planning program known as Title X, according to an estimate by Power to Decide, an organization that works to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Women of color make up more than half, and Latinas over a third of all Title X patients. The lack of funding could affect access to reproductive health services, including breast cancer screenings, HIV tests and birth control for over 8.7 million women living in 390 counties in the U.S.

Paloma Zuleta, director of media relations at Power to Decide, told NBC that any changes in the way reproductive health clinics do business will mainly affect low-income women of color — defeating the purpose of the family planning program known as Title X, which was created to help low-income women.

“If clinics can no longer open early anymore or they can no longer keep late hours because their funding is so different or if they have to lay people off,” Zuleta said, “it’s a deterrent for women to be able to access the health care that they need.”

The Trump administration instituted the gag rule two months ago, stating that health clinics can’t receive funds under Title X if abortions are performed at the facility or if specialists refer patients to centers where they can get an abortion. The administration issued the ruling despite the fact that since 1976, federal funds cannot be used to directly pay for abortions under the Hyde Amendment, which excludes abortion from the health care services provided to low-income people by the federal government.

Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive of Power to Decide, said the gag rule imposed an “ethical dilemma” on clinics providing quality care, leaving some counties “with no clinic that has Title X funds to support women’s needs.”

Clinics had to choose between halting family planning consultations or services that include abortion as a viable option and keep receiving Title X funds or, like Planned Parenthood, withdraw from the federal family planning program and continue to offer full services at their facilities while looking for alternate sources of funding such as donations or private grants.

All clinics receiving Title X funding in Vermont, Maine, Utah, Oregon and Washington walked away from the federal program, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Power to Decide. The five states currently lack Title X clinics.

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Over 26 other states have seen drops in the number of clinics using Title X programs, including Florida, California and New York, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Power to Decide.

Impact on services, contraceptive use

Reproductive justice advocate Estefany Londoño worries that cuts resulting in fewer preventive services such as cervical cancer screenings could be detrimental to Latinas, who have the highest rate of cervical cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another ripple effect Londoño anticipates is that costs for services may go up as health centers have to make up for the lost federal funds. “Clinics will become more expensive for low-income women,” she said, and women may face longer waits for appointments if clinics contract services.

While the administration seeks to reduce access to abortion, reproductive health experts have found that one of the main factors driving a steep decline in abortions from 2008 to 2011 was the expansion of women’s access to better birth control and contraceptive services under programs like Title X.

According to a CDC analysis, the use of effective, long-term contraception such as IUDs and implants went up from 0.4 percent in 2005 to 7.1 percent in 2013 among the roughly 600,000 low-income teens who accessed family planning services through Title X clinics.

Ehrlich said that if the gag rule is not repealed, more women could end up living in “contraceptive deserts,” or areas that lack reasonable access to a health center offering a full range of contraceptive methods. This means more women could be facing unintended pregnancies.

About 19.5 million women were already living in “contraceptive deserts” before the gag rule was even put in place, according to Power to Decide.

Londoño slammed the administration’s stance, saying that “not talking about abortion doesn’t make it less legal.”

“This is not a pro-family piece of legislation,” Londoño added. “It’s about sending a message about ‘putting women in their place’ — starting by not being able to go to a health care provider of their choice.”

The Department of Health and Human Services said they would award supplemental funds to clinics that remained in Title X to try “fill service gaps.” But the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 80 percent of the funding went to states that “are not addressing gaps” left by clinics that left the Title X program.

As clinics grapple with the gag rule, several reproductive health care organizations have recently announced new resources.

Planned Parenthood and Power to Decide have put in place services to help women get birth control delivered to their door and find emergency contraception. Other interactive tools help women find clinics across the country that offer family planning and reproductive health care services.

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Trump compares the impeachment effort to a lynching

26 0 22 Oct 2019

President Donald Trump has called the House impeachment inquiry a “coup,” a “witch hunt” and a “fraud,” but he introduced a new phrase to describe the process on Tuesday: “a lynching.”

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

The president’s use of “lynching,” which elicits a time when black Americans were murdered by extrajudicial white mobs, was the subject of immediate blowback.

“You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING?” Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., tweeted. “What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet.”

“We can all disagree on the process, and argue merits,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., tweeted. “But never should we use terms like ‘lynching’ here. The painful scourge in our history has no comparison to politics, and @realDonaldTrump should retract this immediately. May God help us to return to a better way.”

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According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, more than 4,700 lynchings took place in the U.S. from 1882 to 1968. Of those who were lynched, more than 3,400 were black, though not all lynchings that took place were recorded, the NAACP noted. Many of the whites who were lynched, the organization adds, were killed for helping black Americans or being against lynching.

“Using this term draws up some of America’s darkest history — Trump is yet again a disgrace and massively offensive,” Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., tweeted. “Nobody is above the law, including him. He has abused his power — and he’s been caught. Do not get caught up in his latest distraction tactic.”

“It’s beyond shameful to use the word ‘lynching’ to describe being held accountable for your actions,” former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, a Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted.

Speaking on CNN, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said the president’s early morning tweet was “another indication” of how “loose” he is “with his words.” Clyburn, a top-ranking Democrat, said the president’s comparison of impeachment to lynching offended his sense of history.

“Very much so,” Clyburn said. “I am not just a politician. I’m a Southern politician. I’m a product of the South. I know the history of that word. That is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using.”

Trump’s tweet came just before acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is set to provide the House with a closed-door deposition. Taylor, a key figure in the administration’s Ukraine dealings, which are at the center of the House inquiry, texted U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland last month that it was “crazy” to hold up the country’s military aid until they investigated political opponents of the president.

Sondland responded hours later that the president was clear about there being no quid pro quo, a message he later told the House was passed along to him by the president after Sondland received Taylor’s message.

Speaking with reporters in a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Trump lamented the House was interviewing ambassadors he “never heard of.”

The House launched its impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower filed a complaint about Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine. The whistleblower, whose identity is not yet known, said in the complaint that Trump sought electoral assistance from Ukraine. The complaint was based on information passed along to the whistleblower by administration officials who were concerned, the whistleblower wrote.

Although Trump has claimed the whistleblower’s account is “false,” a detailed description of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which was released by the White House, aligns with the complaint. In that call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to probe a debunked conspiracy theory about Democrats and the 2016 presidential election and also investigate the Biden family, particularly former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.

Trump’s remark on Tuesday was the first time he had used the word “lynching” in a tweet, although in 2015 he promoted a comment from a Twitter user who thanked conservative personality Mark Levin for “maintaining” his “integrity during this disgusting lynching of” Trump, who was then a Republican presidential candidate.

“Thanks Mark!” Trump added.

Kurds lay blame on U.S. as clock runs down on pause in Syria fighting

22 0 22 Oct 2019

DUHOK, Iraq — Kurdish civilians fleeing Turkish troops in Syria angrily blamed erstwhile ally America for their misery as the clock ran down on the five-day pause in fighting ending later on Tuesday.

U.S. troops leaving northeastern Syria were pelted with potatoes and insults as they rolled through towns on their way to Iraq on Monday.

A villager standing in the road as the armored vehicles rumbled by held a hand-written sign reading: “Tell your children that the children of the Kurds were killed by the Turks and we did nothing to protect them.”

On the other side of the border in Iraq, recently arrived Kurdish refugees also focused their anger at the United States.

At first Mahmoud Bashar, an elderly man with thin-rimmed glasses, refused to speak to NBC News out of anger at the United States.

“It’s as if the Americans destroyed my home,” he said as he waited in line for kerosene to keep warm in dusty Bardarash refugee camp outside the Iraqi city of Duhok. “We fought for the whole world, we fought terrorism and ISIS. We fought ISIS but at the end the Americans deserted us.”

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He was among the tens of thousands of Arab and Kurdish civilians who have been forced to flee homes in the area bordering Turkey in northeastern Syria, according to the United Nations.

Many have traveled south and deeper into Syria, while more than 7,000 mainly-Kurdish civilians have gone to Iraqi Kurdistan, according to the U.N.

Many ethnic Kurds in northeastern Syria feel betrayed by the U.S.’s withdrawal, which has left them more vulnerable to the Turkish offensive that is due to restart at 10 p.m. local time Tuesday (3 p.m. E.T.)

Randa Shekhums Hussein and her family fled from al Darbasiyah, just east of Ras Al-Ayn, to Dohuk earlier in the week.Yuka Tachibana / NBC News

Erdogan said he will continue his offensive into northeastern Syria and would “crush the heads” of the Syrian-Kurdish fighters if they had not withdrawn from his so-called “safe zone” by the end of the five-day pause in fighting, according to Reuters.

Most of those arriving in Bardarash and its U.N.-branded tents carried little more than a shopping bag-full of clothes.

“We came like this. We didn’t have time to bring anything,” said Randa Shekhmus Hussein, 29, a mother of three.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been crucial U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State group and some are still working with the U.S. to defend oilfields from ISIS and other militants in northeast Syria amid the chaos caused by Turkish bombardment.

Mechanic, Mustafa Ramadan, described the U.S. move as a betrayal.

Baradarash Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan is sheltering thousands of Syrian refugees who fled recent fighting.Yuka Tachibana / NBC News

“Everything is finished. My house has been destroyed by the shelling,” said the 45-year-old speaking inside the barbed-wire fence of the refugee camp.

“In a flash, everything is gone.”

President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out most of the some 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria has left a diplomatic and military vacuum in the region that is swiftly being filled by Moscow.

Trump’s move also left the fate of the Kurds largely in the hands of Russia’s Vladimr Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday — hours before the suspension in fighting was set to end.

Despite withering domestic and international criticism, Trump has defended his decision.

“We never agreed to protect the Kurds,” he told reporters Monday. “We fought with them for three-and-a-half to four years, we never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”

Matt Bradley and Yuka Tachibana reported from Duhok, Iraq. Saphora Smith reported from London.

Lebanon demonstrators belt out Baby Shark to toddler as protests rage

24 0 22 Oct 2019

As anti-government demonstrations paralyzed Lebanon, one group of protesters took a time out to sing “Baby Shark” to sooth a toddler stuck in traffic.

Video shot by the boy’s mother shows a dozen or so men in the Furn El Chebbak neighborhood of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, belting out the earworm tune that has bewitched children and bedeviled parents around the globe.

Robin, the toddler, looks on as protesters carrying Lebanese flags surround the car and perform the song’s signature clap.

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One of the men in the video, Elie-joe Nehme, told NBC News via Facebook Messenger that he and other protesters were yelling and clapping as they marched alongside some cars during a road closure on Saturday. Then a woman nearby told them to be quiet because of the noise bothering baby Robin.

“So we sang ‘Baby Shark’ to make him happy,” said Nehme, 22.

The boy’s mother, Eliane Jabbour, told NBC News her 15-month-old was “surprised but not afraid” to hear a rowdy rendition.

The episode was a short reprieve from days of unrest that saw hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets across the country.

Protesters have accused the political elite of looting the economy to the point of collapse and are demanding regime change.

Demonstrators carry national flags as they stand on a bridge during an anti-government protest in Jal el-Dib, Lebanon on Monday. Mohamed Azakir / Reuters

In a bid to ward off crisis and defuse protests, the government approved an emergency reform package on Monday.

Nehme said he and others went back to protesting after the cheerful encounter with the toddler.

“There’s a revolution happening here in Lebanon,” he said.

Nehme, who has been part of the protests since they began on Thursday, said they are hoping the demonstrations will achieve “a better Lebanon.”

Paul Ziad Nassar contributed.

New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer debuts on Carrie Fishers birthday

33 0 22 Oct 2019

Disney revealed its much anticipated trailer for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the final installment of the franchise’s Skywalker saga story line.

The trailer dropped during halftime of “Monday Night Football,” debuting on what would have been the late Carrie Fisher’s 63rd birthday. The actress was best known for her role as Princess Leia in the famed franchise.

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Fisher died in December of 2016 after going into cardiac arrest on an airplane from London to Los Angeles. Director J.J. Abrams said at Disney’s D23 Expo in August that unused footage Fisher filmed before her death would be utilized in “The Rise of Skywalker,” without CGI or digital animation, according to Variety.

“The character of Leia is really, in a way, the heart of this story,” Abrams said. “We realized we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia. We realized that we had footage from ‘Episode VII,’ and we could use it in a new way.”

Fisher trended on Twitter Monday as fans commemorated her birthday with tributes to her life. Billie Lourd, the actress’ only child, posted a video to Instagram of her singing her mother’s favorite song, “American Girl” by Tom Petty.

“Not that I’m some kind of grief expert by any means, but on milestones (or whatever you want to call them) like this, I like to celebrate her by doing things that she loved to do,” Lourd wrote.

An old video of Fisher with her French bulldog Gary at a restaurant was also posted to the pooch’s Instagram account.

“One of many dinner nights with the best mom ever,” the video was captioned. “I miss you so much happy b day.”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is scheduled for a theatrical release on Dec. 20, a week before the anniversary of Fisher’s death.

Manhattan D.A., Trump lawyers strike deal to speed fight over Trump tax returns to Supreme Court

25 0 22 Oct 2019

The Manhattan district attorney and attorneys for President Donald Trump have come to an agreement to pause the enforcement of a grand jury subpoena for Trump’s tax returns until after an appeals court issues their opinion and perhaps until after the Supreme Court is asked to hear the case.

In a letter filed Monday with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers from D.A. Cyrus Vance’s office said they’ll hold off on trying to enforce the subpoena against Trump’s accounting firm until after the court of appeals publishes their opinion and after either one of the sides asks the Supreme Court to examine the case.

The two sides are set to face off in oral arguments before the 2nd Circuit on Wednesday, following a lower court’s ruling that the accounting firm, Mazars USA, had to turn the documents over to the D.A.

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Vance’s office is seeking to review eight years of tax records as part of a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization about hush money payments made to two women who have alleged affairs with Trump before he became president. Trump has denied having the affairs.

Trump’s lawyers contend the D.A. isn’t entitled to the returns and that a sitting president is not “subject to the criminal process” while in office. In a ruling earlier this month, a Manhattan federal court judge found that argument “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”

Under the terms of the deal announced on Monday, Vance’s office say they’d agree to postpone the enforcement of the subpoena until 10 days after the 2nd Circuit issues its opinion to give Trump’s team time to appeal to the Supreme Court to hear the case in its current term or for Vance to appeal to the Supreme Court if the opinion isn’t in their favor.

Prosecutors said they’ll delay enforcement until the Supreme Court either declines to hear the case or issues an opinion. Trump’s team, meanwhile, will withdraw their request for an emergency stay of the lower court’s order.

The agreement does not change any of the legal arguments of the case.

The deal was first reported by Politico.

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case in the current term, they would likely issue a ruling by June. If it does not, there’s a possibility they would not issue a ruling until after the 2020 election.

Facebook Ads Explained 2019 – Part 1

32 0 21 Oct 2019

Facebook is one of the most visited sites on the entire internet. It is also the number one social networking site in the world. People from all corners of the globe visit Facebook and interact with others while using it. No one should be surprised that such a platform is also a great way to reach potential customers. Some businesses spend their entire advertising budget on Facebook ads, and they have great success. Here we’re going to help you understand what Facebook ads are and how to use them.

Why Facebook ads are so successful.


The only company that knows more about your online behavior than Facebook is Google. Some say Facebook knows more about you than Google does. Facebook knows everything about you. Facebook knows what your favorite type of music is, your favorite restaurants, and who you spend the most time talking to. They also know all of this information about the people you talk to regularly. All of this information allows them to come up with a pretty good idea about who you are. Along with all that, you give Facebook quite a bit of information voluntarily as well. You like and follow several people and brands. All of this is information that they use to paint a picture of who you are.

Have you ever seen those little Facebook share buttons on sites?


Those buttons are also tracking your web browsing outside of Facebook. It’s just another piece of the puzzle when it comes to the amount of information Facebook has about you. They know about your behavior outside of their site as well as what you’re doing on it. Facebook has a pretty good idea of what each of their users likes, dislikes, and where they spend their time online. It’s a vast amount of information that they collect on people all the time.

None of this is meant to scare you.


You probably already know that Facebook is collecting all kinds of information about its users. This meant to show you that it’s possible to target the exact type of customer who is interested in what you have to offer them. You see, Facebook collects all of this information to make buying advertising on their site more attractive to advertisers. Facebook knows that it’s vital to marketers that they’re able to reach the exact audience their offer is suited for. Facebook can pinpoint the correct person your offer is best for because they have all the information required. This is a marketer’s dream come true since they can target a particular group of people who are interested in what they’re selling.

It’s all about putting your ad in front of the perfect person.


Hopefully, now you can see why Facebook collects this information. Also, you can probably see where this is going. You have something you want to sell someone. The goal is to reach the best possible person who will react to your ads. That’s exactly what all of this is about. It’s about you putting an advertisement in front of someone who is most likely to react to it. That is Facebook marketing in a nutshell. You whittle down the perfect buyer until you know exactly who they are. Once you’ve figured out who that person is, then it’s time to show them advertising.

Do market research before considering placing an ad.


This is probably the one area where people fail the most. It’s not uncommon for online marketers to spend more time thinking about the process of marketing than the people who they are trying to reach. There is a learning curve involved when it comes to using an advertising platform and creating an advertisement. Too often, people spend all of their energy trying to figure out how all of this stuff works and not who their ideal customer is. If there is one reason why most marketers fail, that’s it right there. They haven’t done the homework to determine who is going to buy what they’re selling.

Research and find the perfect customer for your offer.


For some of you, this is going to come as second nature. You live, sleep, and eat your niche. While for others, it’s going to take a little bit more research. The first things you’re going to want to ask yourself is how old is the ideal customer? You’ll also want to consider sex, race, and income level. All of these things are an essential part of your marketing plan. If you’re going to be successful, then you’ve got to target the exact customer out of millions of people.

Don’t forget to zero in on their interests.


Facebook also allows you to market to people who have specific interests. Does your ideal customer watch a certain television show or listen to a particular style of music? It’s possible to target those who have a specific interest that is related to your niche. You need to consider all of the things your potential customers are interested in. It’s possible to discover an untapped area that people aren’t exploiting yet. If you can find such a demographic, the reward for your efforts will be pretty sweet.

It’s all about putting your ad in front of the person who’s going to react to it.


Up until this point, you may have been wondering what’s the purpose of all of this. Why do you care if your ads are shown to such a small number of people and not the broad general audience that Facebook has? The reason you want to be as specific as possible is that you want your ad shown to only those people who are interested in it. That makes sense. Doesn’t it? Why would you want your funny T-shirt about golfing to be shown to someone who has zero interest in golf? You want your ads only to be seen by those people who have a direct interest in what you’re selling.

Facebook ads are built to convert.


It’s all about conversions in the end. Facebook fully understands you’re not going to buy ads on their site if the traffic doesn’t convert. The reason why Facebook ads convert so great is that you’re able to target a very specific audience. You can’t be too ultra-niche when it comes to your traffic purchases. You want to show your ads to only those who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer them. It doesn’t make sense to show men products geared towards pregnant women. The end goal is always to achieve the highest amount of conversions possible. The way you do that is by showing the person precisely what they want.

You will have to split test your ads.


What is split testing? This is the method that you use to find out which ad works the best. You will find that some ads convert better than others. No one makes a high converting ad on their first attempt. You may be surprised to find out that seasoned internet marketers split test their ads. It’s not possible to know right out of the gate if an ad is going to work. Sometimes people respond better to different colors, sales copy, or even the music in a video. You will be surprised by how little tweaks can have a significant impact on your conversions. You should never run an ad without split testing it to see what is the most effective.

Don’t forget to split test your landing pages as well.


It’s not just enough to split test your ads. You’ve also got to split test the landing pages as well. No one creates a high converting landing page right from the start. You want to keep tweaking it until you’ve got it perfected. It’s going to take some time to learn what people in your niche react to the most when they land on a page. Sometimes it can be surprising to learn that what you think will work doesn’t. It takes quite a bit of trial and error to create the right page that makes the person react in the way you want them to.

Continually tweak your ads and landing pages.


You can never be happy with your conversion rate. Always try to squeeze as much profit as you can from your ads. There are no such things as over-optimizing your advertising. It’s all about you making the most profit possible with the amount of money you have. You also need to realize that the more money you make, that means you can buy more ads. Your ability to move forward will be dependent on how successful your ads are. If you want to make it big, then you’ve got to never settle for second best.

Thank you for reading this presentation. Click below for Facebook Ads Explained 2019 – Part 2 to read the rest of the report. Thanks again.

Mobile billboard at OSU away game criticizes schools handling of Dr. Strauss sex abuse scandal

30 0 21 Oct 2019

A group advocating on behalf of former Ohio State University students who say their alma mater failed to protect them from a sexual predator doctor have taken their demands for justice on the road.

A mobile billboard truck playing a video critical of Ohio State’s response to the Dr. Richard Strauss scandal circled Ryan Field in the Chicago suburb of Evanston on Friday as the home team, the Northwestern University Wildcats, was being trounced by the visiting Buckeyes.

“Officials were aware,” the video stated while playing on a loop every 15 seconds for the duration of the game. “Ohio State protected a monster. It’s time to support his victims.”

The Ohio State Accountability Project plans to roll out these trucks at future away Buckeye games — and the group is planning to continue to get the word out on a national level, group spokesman Ian Prior said.

“We won’t limit it to Ohio State football specifically or Ohio State sports in general,” he said. “OSU is a national brand. This is a national problem. There are over 500,000 living alums. We plan to have an honest dialogue with them from coast to coast.”

The 1978 employment application information for Dr. Richard Strauss, from Ohio State University’s personnel files.Ohio State University via AP

Asked about the campaign, Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said in an email: “Ohio State is actively participating in good faith in the mediation process directed by the federal court. In addition, since February, the university has been covering the cost of professionally certified counseling services for anyone affected, as well as reimbursing costs for counseling already received.”

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Former Ohio State football players are among the hundreds of men who say they were sexually abused by Strauss, who worked for the university from July 1979 to June 1995 and did physicals. Strauss also treated other Ohio State athletes who played other sports. He died in 2005.

The investigation that resulted in Ohio State apologizing in May for failing to police Strauss was launched 18 months ago after a former wrestler named Mike DiSabato initially sounded the alarm.

“Our efforts are currently focused on the institutional failure of Ohio State throughout multiple sports that existed in its worst form during Strauss’ tenure, but continues to exist to this very day,” Prior said.

Prior said they’ve also been displaying the mobile billboards at Ohio State home games in Columbus, Ohio.

“This is just the beginning of a broad-based, national effort to raise awareness of what happened to the victims,” he said. “It’s time Ohio State changes its culture. This is the first lap.”

Meanwhile, OSAP released the results of a poll it commissioned that found that while two out of every three Ohio residents hold Ohio State in great esteem, more than half of the people who were aware of the Strauss scandal are angry with the way the school responded back then.

Nearly 80 percent of those participants in the poll, which was conducted from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, say Ohio States owes the Strauss victims more than an apology. And 56.2 percent blame OSU personnel in the athletic and health departments for failing to stop Strauss from abusing students.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listens during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Sept. 25, 2019.Al Drago / Reuters file

A report conducted by an independent law firm released in May said that what Strauss was doing was an “open secret” and that the coaches and administrators at Ohio State knew for two decades that the doctor was abusing students but failed to stop him. Jordan does not appear to be named in the redacted report. But he has acknowledged in interviews that he cooperated with the investigators.

Last week, 78 men who said they were molested by Strauss called on the Ohio General Assembly to change the state’s statute of limitations law so they could sue Ohio State for damages. They did so in an opinion piece published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Most of us were students at Ohio State,” the piece states. “One of us was a young boy in OSU’s summer wrestling camp. All of us were abused by the late Dr. Richard Strauss. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans, and some have no political affiliation. Many of us still call Ohio home.”

In the piece, the men called on Ohio State to back a bill sponsored by state Rep. Brett Hillyer, a Republican from an area south of Cleveland, saying it’s “the least OSU could do to demonstrate that its commitment to those abused by Dr. Strauss is more than carefully chosen words.”

In response, Ohio State’s Johnson did not directly address the merits of the bill but said the school has put in place safeguards to prevent a Strauss situation from happening again and “is committed to appropriately addressing Strauss’ abuse from decades ago.”