'Game of Thrones' finale blocked in China due to trade war

The Game of Thrones finale may have aired last night but the show isn't over yet -- at least in China, where the episode has yet to air. Tencent Video, the streaming platform that controls the rights of HBO's series in China, didn't broadcast the sho...
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Louisville mayor upstaged by protesters at news conference: video
It appears nobody had Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s back during a news conference on Friday.
Op-Ed: As a hospice chaplain, I can only ask: Why aren't you wearing a mask?
As a patient dies of COVID-19, a hospice chaplain provides support for his family and medical staff. Her message: Wear a mask.
Historians will likely rank Trump as one of the worst presidents
Poll of the week: A new Gallup poll puts President Donald Trump's approval rating at 38%. His disapproval rating stands at 57%.
Letters to the Editor: Don't celebrate the Supreme Court ruling that Trump isn't a king
The Supreme Court could have ruled that Trump must immediately comply with subpoenas from Congress and New York, but it did not. That's a win for Trump.
Newt Gingrich: Alarming anti-Semitism surge, other major issues addressed in upcoming Daniel Silva novel
One doesn’t always need to read a newspaper or a report by some prominent think tank to examine the major issues of our troubled world.
Op-Ed: Why we need Black filmmakers to tell the story of 2020
The people who have the power to tell the story of this moment of national reckoning will shape how future generations will come to understand it.
Letters to the Editor: Discrimination is ungodly — yet religious freedom protects it?
Using the "ministerial exception" as a cover to fire teachers for being elderly or disabled is profoundly unethical.
Letters to the Editor: We're told to wear a mask, not storm the beaches on D-Day
If we cannot now do a fraction of what previous generations have been told to do in a crisis, then we are a failed society.
Editorial: California condors pass another milestone on the road to recovery
It took federal support, belief in a bigger cause and trust in science to bring back this critically endangered species.
Editorial: Democrats' proposed police reforms are so modest it's embarrassing they're not already law
Democrats' police reform bill is a set of modest and in may cases decades-old proposals to raise performance standards and provide consequences for failure.
Polls show Trump is losing to Joe Biden. They said the same thing 4 years ago against Hillary Clinton
Polls got it wrong when they showed Hillary Clinton defeating Trump in 2016. But pollsters say surveys showing Biden over Trump are more trustworthy.
Op-Ed: Is the California dream finished?
Gov. Gavin Newsom and state leaders like to talk about the sunny myth of California's promise. But a huge proportion of Californians face staggering economic burdens and very little way out of poverty.
Some Americans refuse to mask up. Rules, fines and free masks will change that, experts say.
Experts spoke in support of rules and fines, likening refusal to wear a mask with traffic violations that put other drivers at risk.
D.C.-area forecast: Humidity dips a bit for now, but the heat streak continues
Today is likely to be our 17th straight day reaching 90 degrees or higher at Reagan National. That would put us just four days from tying Washington’s longest such streak on record.
Column: Boeing executive steps down over a 33-year-old essay. 'Cancel culture' has gone off the rails
Some people have been caught up unfairly in the country's overdue reckoning on race and gender.
The Role of Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic
Members of Heaven’s Gate, a religious cult, believed that as the Hale-Bopp comet passed by Earth in 1997, a spaceship would be traveling in its wake—ready to take true believers aboard. Several members of the group bought an expensive, high-powered telescope so that they might get a clearer view of the comet. They quickly brought it back and asked for a refund. When the manager asked why, they complained that the telescope was defective, that it didn’t show the spaceship following the comet. A short time later, believing that they would be rescued once they had shed their “earthly containers” (their bodies), all 39 members killed themselves.Heaven’s Gate followers had a tragically misguided conviction, but it is an example, albeit extreme, of cognitive dissonance, the motivational mechanism that underlies the reluctance to admit mistakes or accept scientific findings—even when those findings can save our lives. This dynamic is playing out during the pandemic among the many people who refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing. Human beings are deeply unwilling to change their minds. And when the facts clash with their preexisting convictions, some people would sooner jeopardize their health and everyone else’s than accept new information or admit to being wrong.Cognitive dissonance, coined by Leon Festinger in the 1950s, describes the discomfort people feel when two cognitions, or a cognition and a behavior, contradict each other. I smoke is dissonant with the knowledge that Smoking can kill me. To reduce that dissonance, the smoker must either quit—or justify smoking (“It keeps me thin, and being overweight is a health risk too, you know”). At its core, Festinger’s theory is about how people strive to make sense out of contradictory ideas and lead lives that are, at least in their own minds, consistent and meaningful. One of us (Aronson), who was a protégé of Festinger in the mid-’50s, advanced cognitive-dissonance theory by demonstrating the powerful, yet nonobvious, role it plays when the concept of self is involved. Dissonance is most painful when evidence strikes at the heart of how we see ourselves—when it threatens our belief that we are kind, ethical, competent, or smart. The minute we make any decision—I’ll buy this car; I will vote for this candidate; I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we will begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative. Before long, any ambivalence we might have felt at the time of the original decision will have morphed into certainty. As people justify each step taken after the original decision, they will find it harder to admit they were wrong at the outset. Especially when the end result proves self-defeating, wrongheaded, or harmful.[Tess Wilkinson-Ryan: Our Minds Aren’t Equipped for This Kind of Reopening]The theory inspired more than 3,000 experiments that have transformed psychologists’ understanding of how the human mind works. One of Aronson’s most famous experiments showed that people who had to go through an unpleasant, embarrassing process in order to be admitted to a discussion group (designed to consist of boring, pompous participants) later reported liking that group far better than those who were allowed to join after putting in little or no effort. Going through hell and high water to attain something that turns out to be boring, vexatious, or a waste of time creates dissonance: I’m smart, so how did I end up in this stupid group? To reduce that dissonance, participants unconsciously focused on whatever might be good or interesting about the group and blinded themselves to its prominent negatives. The people who did not work hard to get into the group could more easily see the truth—how boring it was. Because they had very little investment in joining, they had very little dissonance to reduce.The term cognitive dissonance has since escaped the laboratory and is found everywhere—from op-eds and movie reviews to humor columns (as in The New Yorker’s “Cognitive Dissonances I’m Comfortable With”). But few people fully appreciate the mechanism’s enormous motivational power—and the lengths people go to in order to reduce its discomfort.For example, when people feel a strong connection to a political party, leader, ideology, or belief, they are more likely to let that allegiance do their thinking for them and distort or ignore the evidence that challenges those loyalties. The social psychologist Lee Ross, in laboratory experiments designed to find ways to reduce the bitter conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, took peace proposals created by Israeli negotiators, labeled them as Palestinian proposals, and asked Israeli citizens to judge them. “The Israelis liked the Palestinian proposal attributed to Israel more than they liked the Israeli proposal attributed to the Palestinians,” he told us. “If your own proposal isn’t going to be attractive to you when it comes from the other side, what chance is there that the other side’s proposal is going to be attractive when it actually comes from the other side?”Because of the intense polarization in our country, a great many Americans now see the life-and-death decisions of the coronavirus as political choices rather than medical ones. In the absence of a unifying narrative and competent national leadership, Americans have to choose who to believe as they make decisions about how to live: the scientists and the public-health experts, whose advice will necessarily change as they learn more about the virus, treatment, and risks? Or President Donald Trump and his acolytes, who suggest that masks and social distancing are unnecessary or “optional”?The cognition I want to go back to work or I want to go to my favorite bar to hang out with my friends is dissonant with any information that suggests these actions might be dangerous—if not to individuals themselves, then to others with whom they interact.How to resolve this dissonance? People could avoid the crowds, parties, and bars and wear a mask. Or they could jump back into their former ways. But to preserve their belief that they are smart and competent and would never do anything foolish to risk their lives, they will need some self-justifications: Claim that masks impair their breathing, deny that the pandemic is serious, or protest that their “freedom” to do what they want is paramount. “You’re removing our freedoms and stomping on our constitutional rights by these Communist-dictatorship orders,” a woman at a Palm Beach County commissioners’ hearing said. “Masks are literally killing people,” said another. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, referring to masks and any other government interventions, said, “More freedom, not more government, is the answer.” Vice President Mike Pence added his own justification for encouraging people to gather in unsafe crowds for a Trump rally: “The right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution.”[Julia Marcus: The dudes who won’t wear masks]Today, as we confront the many unknowns of the coronavirus pandemic, all of us are facing desperately difficult decisions. When is it safe to get back to work? When can I reopen my business? When can I see friends and co-workers, start a new love affair, travel? What level of risk am I prepared to tolerate? The way we answer these questions has momentous implications for our health as individuals and for the health of our communities. Even more important, and far less obvious, is that because of the unconscious motivation to reduce dissonance, the way we answer these questions has repercussions for how we behave after making our initial decision. Will we be flexible, or will we keep reducing dissonance by insisting that our earliest decisions were right?Although it’s difficult, changing our minds is not impossible. The challenge is to find a way to live with uncertainty, make the most informed decisions we can, and modify them when the scientific evidence dictates—as our leading researchers are already doing. Admitting we were wrong requires some self-reflection—which involves living with the dissonance for a while rather than jumping immediately to a self-justification.Understanding how dissonance operates reveals a few practical lessons for overcoming it, starting by examining the two dissonant cognitions and keeping them separate. We call this the “Shimon Peres solution.” Peres, Israel’s former prime minister, was angered by his friend Ronald Reagan’s disastrous official visit to a cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, where members of the Waffen SS were buried. When asked how he felt about Reagan’s decision to go there, Peres could have reduced dissonance in one of the two most common ways: thrown out the friendship or minimized the seriousness of the friend’s action. He did neither. “When a friend makes a mistake,” he said, “the friend remains a friend, and the mistake remains a mistake.” Peres’s message conveys the importance of staying with the dissonance, avoiding easy knee-jerk responses, and asking ourselves, Why am I believing this? Why am I behaving this way? Have I thought it through or am I simply taking a short cut, following the party line, or justifying the effort I put in to join the group?Dissonance theory also teaches us why changing your brother-in-law’s political opinions is so hard, if not impossible—especially if he has thrown time, money, effort, and his vote at them. (He can’t change yours either, can he?) But if you want to try, don’t say the equivalent of “What are you thinking by not wearing a mask?” That message implies “How could you be so stupid?” and will immediately create dissonance (I’m smart versus You say I’m doing something stupid), making him almost certainly respond with defensiveness and a hardening of the belief (I was thinking how smart I am, that’s what, and masks are useless anyway). However, your brother-in-law may be more amenable to messages from others who share his party loyalty but who have changed their mind, such as the growing number of prominent Republicans now wearing masks. Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee said, “Unfortunately, this simple, lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says: If you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask; if you’re against Trump, you do... The stakes are much too high for that.”This nasty, mysterious virus will require us all to change our minds as scientists learn more, and we may have to give up some practices and beliefs about it that we now feel sure of. The alternative will be to double down, ignore the error, and wait, as Trump is waiting, for the “miracle” of the virus disappearing.
Trump’s drop in polls has confident Democrats sensing ‘a tsunami coming’ in November
Both Democratic and Republican operatives increasingly view Trump as a drag on GOP candidates in many key Senate and House races — especially in suburban areas, where polling and focus group data suggest he has been bleeding support.
How to Interview Celebrities, With Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Step 1: Figure out how the press has treated them in the past.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams may be the nicest guy in the Trump administration. But is that what America needs right now?
In the midst of a surging pandemic, Adams is hoping to veer away from the political hot spot of Washington to get up-close and personal outside the Beltway.
Malcolm X (1992)
Spike Lee and Denzel Washington capture the power of Malcolm X’s rhetoric in this sweeping biopic.
Dear Care and Feeding: My Husband and I Always Agreed We’d Have More Than One Child. Now He’s Changed His Mind.
Parenting advice on having another child, toxic parents, and dissolved friendships.
More than 61,000 cases were recorded in the US on Saturday
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Three Arizona teachers who shared a classroom got coronavirus. One of them died
Three teachers who shared a summer classroom at a school in Arizona all contracted coronavirus last month, leaving one of them dead.
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Three teachers who shared a classroom got coronavirus. One of them died
Three teachers who shared a summer classroom at a school in Arizona all contracted coronavirus last month, leaving one of them dead.
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Kamaru Usman brushes off UFC 251 criticism, shows Jorge Masvidal respect
Kamaru Usman responds to online critics who said his UFC 251 fight was boring.       Related StoriesJorge Masvidal will do 'whatever it takes' to get Kamaru Usman rematch after UFC 251UFC 251 results: Kamaru Usman mostly dominant to outwork Jorge MasvidalDana White on referee stoppage in Petr Yan's win over Jose Aldo: 'Horrible, horrible' 
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Florida woman took dishwashing job so she could visit husband with Alzheimer's during pandemic
Mary Daniel visited her husband Steve every day at his Florida memory care center until they stopped allowing visitors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Woman took dishwashing job so she could visit husband with Alzheimer's during pandemic
Mary Daniel visited her husband Steve every day at his Florida memory care center until they stopped allowing visitors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Couples share how they found love in the middle of a pandemic
If you asked Alec Mahon one month ago whether he believed in love, he'd probably tell you he had "given up."
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Ohio protester, 22, died of natural causes, not pepper spray: autopsy
A 22-year-old woman who died two days after participating in a protest related to the death of George Floyd, died of natural causes – not from exposure to pepper spray, an autopsy determined.
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Love in the time of coronavirus: Couples share how they found matches in the middle of a pandemic
If you asked Alec Mahon one month ago whether he believed in love, he'd probably tell you he had "given up."
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Coronavirus live updates: Biden campaign slams Trump for ‘politicizing’ mask-wearing
The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 564,000 people worldwide and over 12.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
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Inexpensive air conditioning alternatives to beat the summer heat
There’s nothing better than entering a nice air-conditioned house after being outside on a hot summer day. That is, unless you pay the bills and would like to have money left after paying said bills.
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Steve Levy: Trump wrong to give DACA recipients ‘road to citizenship’ — unless Dems change immigration policy
President Trump’s comment in an interview Friday that he will sign an executive order including a “road to citizenship” for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children and protected under the DACA program is mistake.
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Live with snoops or just want privacy? Tech smarts for your smartphone
Your phone is your constant coronavirus companion. It’s there for news, entertainment, work, and communication. It’s more important now than ever to make sure your phone doesn’t have a digital virus. Tap or click here for the tell-tale signs your phone is infected with malware, a keylogger, or worse.
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Same school, similar achievements, different skin: How race colors students' lives
Will and Omar's high school lives closely mirror one another. But because of the color of their skin, the world perceives them differently.        
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How Black therapists cope with racial trauma while helping a community
Four Black Louisville, Kentucky, therapists talk about living with racial and generational trauma, while helping others cope with it.        
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New study suggests COVID-19 brought American families closer together
Seventy-five percent of American parents witnessed a key moment in their child's life while in self-isolation, according to new research.
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Puerto Rico primary
Puerto Rico holds its Democratic primary on Sunday.
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Dana White on referee stoppage in Petr Yan's win over Jose Aldo: 'Horrible, horrible'
Dana White not happy with how long the ending of Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo dragged out.       Related StoriesTwitter reacts to Petr Yan's drawn-out TKO of Jose Aldo to claim title at UFC 251Jorge Masvidal will do 'whatever it takes' to get Kamaru Usman rematch after UFC 251UFC 251 bonuses: Rose Namajunas-Jessica Andrade war nets 'Fight of the Night' honors 
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West Virginia mail carrier admits attempted election fraud
A West Virginia postal carrier pleaded guilty Thursday to altering mail-in requests for absentee voter ballots.
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Australian state of Victoria battling new wave of Covid-19 cases
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hit Beverly Hills in gas-guzzling SUV
Do as I say, not as I drive? Despite their eco-friendly agenda, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry recently tooled around Beverly Hills in a gas-guzzling SUV, the Daily Mail reported Saturday. Photos obtained by the Mail show the formerly royal couple popping into a black Cadillac Escalade. Online reviews have called the low-miles-per-gallon Escalade about...
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City Hall ‘walks’ back Mayor’s plan for community leaders to ‘walk with police officers’
Mayor de Blasio has said community leaders would walk “with police officers” through violent hot spots in the city this weekend — but a day later, City Hall was backpedaling on the odd plan. Community leaders would indeed be going on the violence-prevention walks — including one Saturday night in Harlem — but the NYPD...
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NYC dad says coronavirus-shuttered Family Court failed him after mom took kids
An unmarried Queens dad whose kids were allegedly whisked off to California by their mom against his wishes says New York’s virus-shuttered Family Court has failed him. “I want to be heard,” said Juan Miranda, 32, who says he hasn’t seen his two sons since mid-June, after their mom abruptly bolted Astoria, relocating to California...
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The mystery of the 1998 World Cup final
It's one of the great mysteries of our time: not the Loch Ness Monster, Stonehenge or the Lost City of Atlantis; it's the case of the missing striker -- not so much a whodunit, more a kind of a what the heck happened?
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Jorge Masvidal will do 'whatever it takes' to get Kamaru Usman rematch after UFC 251
Jorge Masvidal won't "shut up or roll over" after his title-fight loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 and intends to earn a rematch.        Related StoriesUFC 251 results: Kamaru Usman mostly dominant to outwork Jorge MasvidalTwitter reacts to Kamaru Usman's 'boring as (expletive)' title defense over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251UFC 251 bonuses: Rose Namajunas-Jessica Andrade war nets 'Fight of the Night' honors 
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Dr. Atlas: Coronavirus surges linked mostly to protests -- and proximity to US-Mexico border
The recent surges in U.S. coronavirus cases can be traced to two key factors -- crowds of protesters and proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at The Hoover Institution, said Saturday night.
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US Covid-19 cases are climbing but some state and local leaders clash over moves to curb the spread
With coronavirus cases climbing across the US, local and state leaders have found themselves at odds over the types of restrictions that should be in place to move forward effectively.
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