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Best of CES 2020: The Top Tech Products You Can Actually Buy This Year
Last week at CES, the biggest event of the year in consumer technology, more than 4,400 exhibitors unveiled some 20,000 new products across a broad array of tech and tech-infused categories.
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Shooting the Messenger
The Trump administration has placed civil servants and non-political government employees in a terrible position. Their job is to provide accurate, non-partisan information and make decisions grounded in law; sometimes that involves providing testimony to Congress, which legally must be truthful. Yet if they tell the truth, President Trump and his allies will publicly crucify them. Bureaucrats, of course, are not viewed by most people as terribly sympathetic victims, but if you shoot these messengers, you end up wounding citizens. Taxpayers send money to the government so it can develop accurate information, not partisan pabulum—but Trump is doing all he can to change that.On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office, an independent watchdog within the federal government, released a decision on whether the Trump administration violated the law by freezing millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine. GAO found it wasn’t even a close call.“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the decision states. “Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”[David A. Graham: What Trump did in Osaka was worse than lying.]In a reality-based world, this would be at least embarrassing for the president. His allies could still argue, of course, that the error was innocent or minor enough not to warrant impeachment. But the precepts of the Trump-era GOP state that admitting that the president might have erred, even in good faith, is forbidden. Hence Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin dismissed the GAO report—literally a report on whether the law was followed—as “legalistic.”Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama took an even more laughable tack. “Timing looked a little suspect to everybody I think,” Shelby told CNN. “I’ve never known GAO to get involved in partisan politics and stuff like that. It’s probably not good for the GAO.”Notably, Shelby’s concern isn’t that the report might be inaccurate. It’s that it might be politically inconvenient. Setting aside the semi-veiled threat—nice non-partisan office you’ve got there, shame if some partisans took offense and wrecked it—Shelby’s comment is absurd. As GAO General Counsel Thomas Armstrong wrote in the decision, the office is simply discharging its statutory duty: A senator, Democrat Chris Van Hollen, asked for an investigation, and GAO did what it’s required to do.The concern over the timing is a red herring, too. There’s no more opportune time for GAO to issue a report on whether the administration broke the law on the Ukraine aid than at the very moment the Senate is opening an impeachment trial of the president over the Ukraine scandal. But one man’s opportune is another’s—specifically Trump’s—inconvenient, and the messenger gets caught in the middle.Is it any wonder that other officials would just as soon opt out? Every year, the nation’s top intelligence officials brief the House and Senate on their Worldwide Threat Assessment—part of the proceeding in public, and other parts behind closed doors due to sensitivities. Last year’s edition was a fiasco. The intelligence chiefs came, and they spoke candidly about North Korea and ISIS, with the unfortunate coincidence that the truth was at odds with what Trump had been claiming publicly. The president tweeted, “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” and claimed that officials told him they’d been misquoted. Again: The hearing was public and video is available.The intelligence officials don’t have much choice. They can’t come to Congress and lie. But telling the truth puts them in conflict with their boss. So this time around, they’re simply trying to convince Congress not to hold a public hearing, Politico reports. The message is that they can tell the truth, but not somewhere it might create friction with the truth-free president. And that means that ordinary Americans won’t get to hear for themselves about the greatest threats they face.The Washington Post recently reported on an investigation by the Justice Department into Hillary Clinton. After Trump became president, having insisted that Clinton hadn’t been properly investigated, DOJ appointed a U.S. attorney to do a review. But the Post reported the prosecutor hadn’t found anything. In fact, the review was effectively complete before Special Counsel Robert Mueller produced his report in May. But there’s been no official closure. It isn’t hard to guess at why: Who wants to be the one to tell Trump that that the investigation didn’t find anything?The inability to give Trump tough news, for fear of being the latest messenger to face the firing squad, seems to recur at the Justice Department. A Trump-mandated prosecution of Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, for leaking has hit a mysterious delay. An expected indictment never arrived, fueling speculation that a grand jury declined to indict him—a stunning defeat for prosecutors if true. Nonetheless, the Justice Department is now looking into an old leak allegedly by former FBI Director James Comey, a move experts say is unusual.[David A. Graham: Trump’s most pointless lie]There have been examples of this tension since the very beginning of the Trump administration, when the National Park Service was caught between the facts (the crowd for Trump’s inauguration was smaller than for Barack Obama’s first) and the president’s demand that the answer be politically useful to him.That was embarrassing and perplexing, though also largely irrelevant in immediate effect. But some of the more recent examples have much more real-world effect. Last fall, Trump claimed, falsely and pointlessly, that Hurricane Irma would hit Alabama. He refused to admit any error, even sloppily editing a map with a Sharpie to try to back his point up; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was dragooned into giving a statement that put Trump’s nonsense above the facts that the nation’s forecasters actually produced.It’s not clear that anyone was actually harmed by that, but if it had gone the other way, or if it undermines faith in forecasts, it could be a literal matter of survival, just like the Worldwide Threat Assessment. If the government’s apparatus is swung to back up partisan conclusions, and public servants are afraid to speak the truth, the messengers won’t be the only ones to suffer.
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Ex-Guantanamo commander convicted of lying about man's death
A federal jury in Jacksonville convicted Navy Capt. John R. Nettleton on charges of obstruction of justice, concealing material facts, falsifying records and making false statements.
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Man finds $43K in couch he bought from store
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AA flight diverted for disruptive passenger
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Man says he mixed mom's ashes with marijuana
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Man thanks bystander for rescuing him after crash
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Racine barbers help build student confidence
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India protests Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' visit
Protesters in India looking to protect the local retail industry not keen on visit by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.      
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California mom-of-two tragically dies during surrogacy birth
Having completed her family with two beautiful kids of her own, Michelle Reaves set out to help another family enjoy the same happiness by becoming a surrogate.
AMLO propone 'rifar' el avión presidencial
CIUDAD DE MÉXICO — El presidente mexicano, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, anunció el viernes una serie de ideas desesperadas para vender el avión oficial de su predecesor, que según él es demasiado lujoso para un país donde la mitad de la gente vive en la pobreza.
Iran chess referee won’t return home after hijab uproar
This Iranian chess referee fears for her life if she returns home. Shohreh Bayat was accused of breaking Islamic dress code at a tournament in Vladivostok, Russia, after pics of her allegedly not wearing a headdress went viral. She claims the angle of the photos didn’t show that she was wearing a hijab.   Subscribe...
Pimp who kept dead girlfriend’s head in freezer gets light prison sentence
The Brooklyn pimp who was convicted last year of dismembering his prostitute girlfriend and keeping her head in his freezer was sentenced to four to eight years in prison on Friday after hearing a statement from the victim’s family in which they branded him an “evil monster.” Somorie Moses, 43, was convicted in November of...
Disney Drops Fox From Names of Studios It Bought From Rupert Murdoch
The name change means consumers won’t mistakenly connect the Disney-owned studio with Mr. Murdoch’s polarizing Fox News.
ZTE hires Akin Gump
Buttigieg comes to Washington — American Chemistry Council adds 2
President Donald Trump mixes politics with LSU football talk during White House ceremony: 'Trying to impeach the son of a bitch'
President Donald Trump welcomed the champion LSU football team to the White House, where he included his impeachment thoughts with football talk.
'The Witcher' Books Get Huge New Print Run Following Netflix Series Success
Every title in Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski "The Witcher" book series is returning to press, as publisher Orbit Books plans to release half a million new copies.
Alexa Grasso misses weight by 5.5 pounds; UFC 246 fight vs. Claudia Gadelha canceled
UFC 246 has lost one of its main-card fights on weigh-ins day.       Related StoriesAnthony Pettis feeling rejuvenated before lightweight return at UFC 246Video: Conor McGregor, Donald Cerrone make weight for UFC 246 headliner'BMF' Jorge Masvidal sets 3-year timeline: 'I want to be at the highest level when I walk away'
Queens mom slams DOE head Richard Carranza for bolting out of town hall
A mom whose daughter was seen in a viral video being beaten at a Queens school and who tried to confront schools Chancellor Richard Carranza about it at a meeting Thursday ripped him for abruptly walking out while she and others were trying to get answers. “I will be honest with you,” said Katty Sterling,...
Trump has impeachment on his mind during LSU's White House visit
President Trump had a lot on his mind — impeachment, the stock market, TV ratings — during national college football champion LSU's White House visit.
'Freed From The Secret': Rep. Ayanna Pressley Opens Up About Living With Alopecia
The freshman lawmaker says she felt that it was particularly important for her to speak out about her condition because her hairstyle, Senegalese twists, had become a part of her political brand.
Burger King tried to troll Wendy's, but Wendy's wasn't having it
Since it apparently has to be said again – don’t come for Wendy’s.
This grad student started college behind bars. Now he's giving back.
Dameon Stackhouse was six years into his prison sentence when he learned he would have a shot at earning his college degree.
India's largest state adopts new tactic in its crackdown on Muslims
Rather than face accountability for using excessive force, authorities in India's largest state are directing residents to pay for damage resulting from antigovernment unrest.
Alexa Grasso no da el peso para su pelea ante Claudia Ghadela y es multada
La mexicana se pasó por mucho en su peso y UFC la castiga con un porcentaje de su bolsa
‘El Bloombito’ parody account rejects bid by Bloomberg campaign to collaborate
No compraro, senoro! Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg big-spending presidential campaign has found one thing it can’t buy — Twitter tormentor, El Bloombito. The former mayor’s campaign tried to pitch the Twitter parody account that mocks the billionaire’s awkward Spanish speaking on a collaboration to boost the billionaire’s White House quest. A rep from the multibillionaire’s...
Michelle Obama's birthday message from Barack
"You are my star," read the former president's message to his wife.
Photos of Barack and Michelle Obama that will melt your heart
A look at some of the most romantic photos taken of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during their time in the White House
Sex offender sought in death of Alabama woman who sent worried text after leaving bar
Alabama authorities were seeking a registered sex offender in the death of a woman who was reported missing after leaving a bar with two strange men and then texting a friend, “I feel in trouble.”
A jury has been selected in the Harvey Weinstein trial
A jury has been seated in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial, capping a selection process that began last week in New York State Supreme Court.
The 12 Best Curb Your Enthusiasm Cameos of All Time
From Carrie Brownstein to Mel Brooks
Giants make Alyssa Nakken MLB’s first female coach, Aubrey Huff slams team
Gabe Kapler is making a statement with a new hire to the San Francisco Giants’ coaching staff. Alyssa Nakken, along with Mark Hallberg, was promoted to assistant coaches to help “build a winning culture in the clubhouse,” according to the Giants’ new manager. The promotion makes Nakken the first full-time female assistant coach in the...
'Chicharito' Hernandez signs with Galaxy to become highest-paid player in MLS
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is Mexico's all-time leading scorer, and he will replace departed Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the lineup and on the marquee.
Reading the News, You'd Think Democracy Is Retreating Everywhere. Good News: The Opposite Is True | Opinion
The slow, discreet spread of participatory democracy to almost every country in the world should give us hope.
Illinois drunk driver crashes into cop car already engaged in separate traffic stop
A drunk driver in Illinois was arrested Wednesday night after crashing into the back of a police cruiser that was already engaged in another traffic stop, law enforcement said.
'Nothing was off limits': Hillary Clinton discusses life-spanning new docuseries
Hillary Clinton and director Nanette Burstein discussed the life-spanning Hulu docuseries "Hillary" at Television Critics Assn. press tour Friday.
Jet Blue: That'll be $80 to check two bags at airport
JetBlue passengers now must pay $35 for first checked bag and $45 for second bag. When will other airlines follow?
'Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore' Weapon Guide: Every Carnage & Skill Listed
"Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore" is full of weapons called Carnage. Here's all the Carnage in the game paired alongside their unique skills.
Gay Inmates Tie the Knot Inside Cyprus Prison
They have become the second same-sex couple to marry inside a EU member country prison
James Taylor opens up in first clip from new audio-only memoir, out Jan. 31
James Taylor's audio-only memoir, "Break Shot: My First 21 Years," will be released on Audible on Jan. 31.
Dems go on offense in House contests
All while NRCC boss sounds alarm over fundraising.
Seattle cop fired for Instagram posts suggesting violence against Clinton, Obama
A Seattle cop has been fired for suggesting “sending package bombs” to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama so they “finally STFU,” according to a new report. An internal investigation that launched in 2018 found the unidentified police officer’s “unprofessional” posts on a private Instagram account “negatively impacted the department’s ability to serve the...
Christopher Tolkien, son and protector of 'Lord of the Rings' creator, dies
Christopher Tolkien helped edit and publish much of J.R.R. Tolkien's work after the science fiction and fantasy writer died in 1973.
Emily Thornberry tells unions: 'don't close gates' to would-be Labour leaders
Shadow foreign secretary has yet to secure backing from a single union in race to succeed Jeremy CorbynEmily Thornberry has warned the trade unions not to “keep the gates closed” to leadership candidates, claiming members deserve the widest possible choice.The shadow foreign secretary is yet to receive a single union backing, which she must secure to get her name on the ballot paper. She said conversations with unions and affiliate organisations to try to win their backing were ongoing. Continue reading...
Teachers to announce lawsuit over Delta jet's fuel dump over schools
Attorney Gloria Allred's office says teachers did their best to protect children on the school playground as fuel rained down.
California sues over Trump plan to open land to fracking
The plan would open new oil and gas leasing in California's Central Valley and Central Coast — which already suffers from the worst air quality in the country.
CDC to screen at three US airports for signs of new virus from China
More than 100 staffers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being deployed to three US airports to check passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, for fever and other symptoms of a mysterious new virus that's killed two and infected dozens in China, the CDC announced Friday.