By Josh Rosenblatt, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2017 12:50 PM CST
(Newser) – President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations believes the women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct “should be heard.” Appearing on Face the Nation Sunday, Nikki Haley said she is “incredibly proud” of the women who have come forward over the last months with allegations of sexual harassment against men in Hollywood and Washington, the Hill reports. “I’m proud of their strength,” Haley said. “I’m proud of their courage. And I think that the idea that this is happening, I think it will start to bring a conscience to the situation, not just in politics, but … in every industry.” Those comments came after a week in which three members of Congress resigned following accusations of sexual misconduct, Democrats Al Franken and John Conyers and Republican Trent Franks.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, several women made accusations of improper sexual conduct against then-candidate Trump, and Haley said she believes those women deserve to tell their stories as well. “Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard and they should be dealt with, ” Haley said. “I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.” At least 11 women during the campaign accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances. At the time, Trump called the allegations “total fiction.” In October White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the official White House position was that those women were lying.
OCEAN COUNTY, NJ (WCMH) — In most scenarios, a snowball fight would be spurred on by a snowstorm, but in an ironic twist, an event billed as “The World’s Largest Snowball Fight” was canceled due to snow.
According to WNBC, Six Flags Great Adventure Park in Ocean County, New Jersey planned a massive snowball fight as part of the Six Flags Snow Day on Saturday. The theme park was attempting to break the world record for the largest snowball fight. Organizers originally planned to use kid-friendly plush snowballs for the fight.
However, as a winter storm started rolling in, Ocean County was placed under a winter storm warning until Sunday morning. The area ended up being blanketed in about six inches of snow. The park decided to cancel the event due to inclement weather.
The park has not scheduled a makeup date for the event yet.
Three of the at least 16 women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct will appear on Megyn Kelly’s NBC News show Monday.
Three women who have publicly accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct will sit down with NBC News host Megyn Kelly Monday morning to detail their claims, the network said.
The women — Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Crooks — are three of at least 16 who have accused Trump of sexual harassment dating back three decades, with allegations that range from groping and unwanted kissing to making lewd propositions.
Trump has repeatedly rejected these claims, dismissing his accusers as liars and denying that he has ever been inappropriate with women, despite a bombshell 2005 Access Hollywoodtape in which he can be heard bragging about kissing women and grabbing them “by the pussy.” Although the president initially apologized for those remarks, calling it “locker room talk,” he has recently suggested that it is not actually his voice on the tape.
In an interview on Sunday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said that the women who have accused President Trump of sexual harassment and misconduct “should be heard” or “dealt with.”
In their words, this is what Leeds, Holvey, and Crooks have said about their encounters with Trump:
In October 2016, less than a month before the presidential election, Leeds told the New York Times that she was seated next to Trump on an airplane in the 1980s, after being unexpectedly upgraded to first class.
They initially chatted, Leeds told the Times, but she claimed that after about 45 minutes, Trump began grabbing her breasts and reaching up under her skirt. “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”
Before the story was published, Trump told the Times that “none of this ever took place,” and began shouting at the reporter who was questioning him. He has continued to deny Leeds’ allegation.
In 2006, Holvey was representing North Carolina at the 2006 Miss USA pageant and said that Trump would come and personally inspect her and the other contestants before the competition. Holvey, who was 20 at the time, recalled being “disgusted” by the repeated behavior.
It was “the dirtiest I felt in my entire life,” she told CNN in October 2016. “He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat,” she said. “We were just sexual objects, that we were not people.”
Trump has never addressed Holvey’s specific accusations (CNN reported at the time that calls to his campaign were not returned). Her accusations have been echoed by other former contestants in Trump’s beauty pageants, including Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, who have said that the former reality television star acted inappropriately, including by making women parade in front of him.
Rachel Crooks, whose account was also published in the Times story last October, says that she first encountered Trump in 2005, when she was 22 years old and working as a receptionist for a development company with offices in New York City’s Trump Tower.
She told the Times that she saw Trump waiting for the elevator one day and introduced herself, and that after shaking hands, he began kissing her on the cheeks and directly on the mouth.
“It was so inappropriate,” she told the paper. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”
As with Leeds’ allegations, Trump told the Times that the incident described by Crooks never took place.
In an interview with CNN last month, Crooks said that she “feels forgotten” amid the onslaught of sexual harassment allegations brought to light by the #MeToo movement, and remains upset that her claims about Trump were not taken seriously:
I thought people would take it seriously. I mean, being the president of the United States is such a highly regarded position, you want someone, I think, of good character. And this is obviously evidence not of that. He certainly has some flaws, and I thought people would — I don’t know — take that into account at the polls… I think it’s just evidence of sort of the political atmosphere these days. We’re forgotten by politicians who think it’s more convenient to keep Trump in office, you know, have him just sweeping his indiscretions under the rug.
In addition to the interview with Kelly, Brave New Films is hosting a press conference in New York City at 10:30 a.m. Monday with women who have publicly accused the Trump of sexual harassment. According to a press release, the women will call for a congressional investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against the president.
By CHRISTOPHER BRITO, CBS NEWS
A boy teased for being “different” was flooded with comforting messages from dozens of celebrities over the weekend. This comes after he expressed his daily struggles as a victim of bullying in a heart-wrenching video posted online.
On Friday, Keaton Jones of Knoxville, Tennessee, described the painful ordeal to his mother Kimberly in a Facebook video, where he breaks down in tears.
“They make fun of my nose, they call me ugly,” Jones said.”I have no friends.”
You can watch the entire clip below — it has been viewed at least 21 million times as of Sunday night:
“They pour milk on me and put ham down my clothes, throw bread at me,” the boy said.
He tries to reason with his bullies, saying, “People that are different don’t need to be criticized because it’s not their fault.”
Still, Jones offered advice to victims of bullying and how they can handle it.
“If you’re being made fun of, don’t let it bother you,” Jones said. “Stay strong I guess. It’s hard. It will probably get better one day.”
The powerful, emotional video of his experience at school quickly went viral, amassing to more than 21 million views and 400 shares on Facebook since it was published, and it reached even more eyeballs as it spread to other social platforms. On Twitter, hundreds of tweets surfaced with the #StandWithKeaton hashtag. It also grabbed the attention of celebrities across the different industries, who pledged to help Keaton in any way they can.
On Instagram, rapper Snoop Dogg reposted the video of Jones while offering words of support.
“Say lil Man U gotta friend in me for life hit me on dm so we can chop it up love is the only way to beat hate,” he wrote.
“Captain America” star Chris Evans was also the among high-profile actors to step up for Jones and even invited him to Los Angeles for the premiere of the next Avengers movie.
“Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better,” Evans wrote on Twitter.
Another Avengers actor, Mark Ruffalo who plays The Hulk, also tweeted his support saying Jones is “about one of the coolest kids I have ever seen! Can’t wait to meet you in person, pal.”
Tyler Bird, a wide receiver for Jones’ hometown team, the Tenneesse Volunteers, said the team would show up to his school Tuesday.
“We going to the middle school next Tuesday show young Man some love we will also TWITTER LIVE some of it so everyone can show there love and support,” he tweeted.
By Erik Boland
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The deal that shook the baseball world, and continues to shake it, is expected to become official Monday afternoon.
Indications are the Yankees will introduce Giancarlo Stanton, acquired from the Marlins over the weekend, at the Dolphin Resort here, providing quite a kick-start to the annual winter meetings.
Stanton spent the weekend in New York, with part of that time spent taking his physical. When the Yankees are satisfied with the results — Stanton has had his share of injuries over the years — the deal will be announced officially.
The Yankees, of course, stunned just about everyone by swooping in and acquiring the reigning National League MVP — who led the major leagues with 59 homers last season — in exchange for All-Star second baseman Starlin Castro and minor-league prospects Jorge Guzman, a highly regarded righthander, and shortstop Jose Devers.
Most significant from the perspective of the Marlins, who under Derek Jeter’s new ownership group are attempting to dump salary, the Yankees will pay $265 million of the $295 million owed the 28-year-old Stanton over the next 10 years.
Stanton has an opt-out clause in the contract that he can exercise after the 2020 season. He also has a full no-trade clause, which he exercised in vetoing deals to the Giants and Cardinals before giving the OK to joining the Yankees.
The trade was the Yankees’ emphatic retort to the recent disappointment of their early elimination in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. Ohtani, the star pitcher-outfielder from Japan, eventually chose the Angels in a process that in many ways mirrored the recruitment of elite football and basketball players by colleges. To continue with the metaphor, the Yankees never got to the point of even making an in-home visit with the 23-year-old.
“I’ve talked to a couple of people who were involved in the Stanton discussions who I think feel as if they’ve been somewhat liberated to talk about other things, and there were lots of teams that were involved with Ohtani,” Alderson said late Sunday afternoon. “The amount of time teams took to put together presentations for Ohtani, that alone probably consumed four or five days per team. I think some things have been cleared away and I do think activity will pick up.’’
By Bill Chappell
“The Defense Department is starting the first agency-wide financial audit in its history,” the Pentagon’s news service says, announcing that it’s undertaking an immense task that has been sought, promised and delayed for years.
Of the tally that is starting this week, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said, “It demonstrates our commitment to fiscal responsibility and maximizing the value of every taxpayer dollar that is entrusted to us.”
“Beginning in 2018, our audits will occur annually, with reports issued Nov. 15,” the Defense Department’s comptroller, David L. Norquist, said.
The Defense Department has famously never been audited, despite receiving hundreds of billions of dollars annually and having more than $2.2 trillion in assets.
For the Pentagon to get to this point, it has been, as they say, a process. The U.S. government established requirements for each agency to present financial statements back in the 1990s. But for more than 20 years, the Department of Defense has lagged other agencies that were following modern accounting standards, reporting what they received and spent.
In 2010, Congress included a requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act that gave the military “an extra seven years to clean up the books and get ready,” as Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa said last year. That set a new deadline to be ready for an audit by September 2017.
In late 2016, reports emerged that Pentagon officials had “buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, as The Washington Post reported.
In January, the Government Accountability Office said, “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that have prevented its financial statements from being auditable.” The agency listed the Defense Department as its prime example of major impediments to attempts to render an opinion on the U.S. government’s financial statements.
To carry out the audit, the Pentagon says it will deploy 2,400 auditors to go over records and examine bases, property and weapons of a federal department that had a budget of $590 billion last year.
As for how the audit would work, Jim Garamone of the official DoD News agencyreports that the department’s Office of the Inspector General has “hired independent public accounting firms to conduct audits of individual components — the Army, Navy, Air Force, agencies, activities and more — as well as a departmentwide consolidated audit to summarize all results and conclusions.”
The Defense Department’s lack of a financial reckoning hasn’t hurt its funding. Last month, Congress approved nearly $700 billion for the department — some $100 billion more than last year’s budget and billions more than the $639.1 billion that had been initially requested by President Trump.
The Pentagon audit would deliver on a campaign pledge by Trump. He was one of several candidates, including Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, to make that promise — perhaps in the knowledge that the audit had already been federally mandated.
After taking office, Trump later nominated Norquist, a former Department of the Army employee whose experience includes stints on the staff of the House Appropriations Committee and as the chief financial officer of the Department of Homeland Security, as the Pentagon’s comptroller.
This summer, Norquist was asked by Defense News if the looming audit was “the biggest bugaboo of the job.”
Norquist replied, “I don’t think of it as a bugaboo. I think of it as a great opportunity.”
An audit would allow his office to find errors more easily, Norquist said, and to analyze the Pentagon’s data to look for patterns and trends that could help make it more efficient.
“It is important that the Congress and the American people have confidence in DoD’s management of every taxpayer dollar,” Norquist said this week.
By Joe Sutton and Susannah Cullinane, CNN
(CNN)Firefighters are struggling to contain the biggest of six blazes burning in southern California, with the Thomas Fire slipping from 15% containment to 10% Sunday.
Jennifer Pignolet, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
A Trezevant High School football player became eligible to play college sports after someone changed his grade in a reading class on his transcript from a 54 to a 90.
A year later, on November 29, 2013, that player’s grade for a visual art class was changed from 67 to 77.
On that same November day, Trezevant football coach Teli White received an email with the altered transcript of “Athlete No. 2,” as the football player is called in an investigative report that flagged hundreds of instances in which grades were changed at Trezevant and other schools.
White saved the email to his desktop, which also contained the original document, and marked a new one “updated.”
“The sequence of these changes and the dates on which the transcripts were saved to Coach White’s computer provide strong circumstantial evidence that Coach White and the person using (Secretary Shirley) Quinn’s credentials were systematically working together to boost the GPA to a number that would enable Athlete No. 2 to qualify academically” to play football in college, according to the report.
The investigation, commissioned by Shelby County Schools to determine the full scope of academic discrepancies at Trezevant High, details an extensive, multiyear effort to boost the school’s graduation rate and to make students eligible to play sports in college.
The alterations came in waves and multiple grades were changed at once, often soon after schools received ACT results.
In one case, a grade in an ROTC class was changed 12 times. The original grade was a 70. The transcript eventually reflected a 93.
Quinn resigned before she could be terminated last fall following an initial investigation into grading discrepancies, although her lawyer said Quinn is challenging the accusations against her.
White, whose teams twice won state football championships, is now facing termination from Shelby County Schools after the board voted 8-0 Tuesday to dismiss him. White did not return a request for comment for this story and has previously declined to comment since the report was released.
The investigation is now spreading to other SCS schools, as an audit from CPA firm Dixon Hughes Goodman revealed high rates of changed grades at other schools. One school, Kirby High, altered transcripts to reflect passing grades instead of failing ones at 10 times the average district rate.
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said in a text message Friday that the investigation is “far from over.” The district has retained Dixon Hughes Goodman to dig deeper into the high rates of changes at some schools.
“If we find evidence that any employee fraudulently changed grades or directed fraudulent grade changes they will be terminated,” Hopson said.
“This is the first time we have heard of a situation where many of the discrepancies seemed to be tied to student athletes’ grades and where the scope of the overall issue may be larger,” Sara Gast said in an email.
Of the total changes made on Quinn’s computer system, 445 were made for 29 football players and 586 were done for other students.
Of the non-athletes, according to the report, most of the changes were to push failing grades into the low “D” range, allowing them to graduate.
The school issued 53 diplomas to students who didn’t earn them, increasing the graduation rate 14 percent over a four-year period. SCS will allow those diplomas to stand, according to the report, mostly out of a lack of other recourse.
While the report provides extensive detail of how a single secretary may be responsible for more than 1,000 grade changes, at whose direction is still ultimately unclear.
‘Systemic academic improprieties’
School administrators regularly review transcripts at the beginning of a school year to make sure students are on track to graduate. But according to the report, the Trezevant investigation launched in the fall of 2016 in part due to a complaint from a parent of a student who was “improperly” advanced to the 10th grade.
“In response to this complaint, the counselors pulled the student’s transcript and his report card,” the report said. “The counselors noticed that the two documents did not match.”
“There is substantial evidence of systemic academic improprieties at Trezevant High School from 2012-2016,” the report concluded. “Investigators found what appears to be a systemic pattern of changing failing grades to passing grades without requiring the students to repeat the courses they failed.
“The evidence suggests that this practice was approved by the school administration during these years.”
The report does not, however, name anyone besides Teli White as responsible, despite recognizing he likely had no motivation to ask for changes for students who did not play football.
Butler Snow investigators, led by former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton III, only looked at a four-year period, and did not have subpoena power. As a result, they did not interview any former Trezevant principals, according to the document, and cannot say how far back the improper changes go.
Quinn worked at the school for 20 years, and served as the records secretary for 10 years.
Transcript changes have a ‘definitive pattern’
The report details the process of reporting grades, and highlights a painstaking process a second secretary executed to make sure report cards were accurate.
But Quinn’s “unfettered” access to the system, a result of her job to maintain Trezevant’s historical transcript database, “rendered moot” the extensive report card verification processes, according to the investigation.
Hopson said the district has implemented changes, including random audits and conducting extensive training on the required process for changing a grade on a transcript.
In her interviews, Quinn insisted she was only doing what teachers told her to do.
“She said she was doing her job,” Quinn’s lawyer, Linda Garner, said.
But investigators said that’s not a plausible explanation because of the timing of the changes.
In one case, a grade was changed years after the teacher who issued it retired.
In fact, most of the transcript changes came years after students had failed the classes.
“Quinn’s excuse that the changes were done at the request of teachers lacks credibility because the changes all have a definitive pattern,” the report reads.
Changes mostly came in late November, January and February of students’ senior year, and multiple changes were made at the same time. November is when ACT scores are released.
NCAA eligibility is based on a sliding scale that accounts for both a student’s grade point average and ACT score. The worse a student does on the ACT, the better his or her grades must be in order to qualify to play sports in college.
“Moreover, the vast majority of the grade changes were made 18-24 months after the student had completed the class for which the grade was issued,” the report states. “For Quinn’s account to be accurate, multiple teachers had to have decided one or two years later that they gave the wrong grade and all of them had to approach Quinn at the same time in November or in the spring for her to make the changes.”
Even if there were legitimate requests to change grades, and teachers had asked for the changes, the report reads, Quinn failed to obtain the proper documentation, which is enough to violate SCS policy.
“While there is no direct evidence to establish who made the grade changes— except that Quinn admits to making many transcript changes— there is substantial circumstantial evidence to establish that Quinn made these changes at the direction of Coach White,” the investigation states.
Tracking students’ academic progress for NCAA eligibility
“Coach White was very familiar with the NCAA sliding scale and how it operates,” the report said.
Whoever made the changes to football players’ transcripts knew their ACT score “and was attempting to increase the student’s GPA to make him eligible under the NCAA’s sliding scale.”
It was that fact that implicated White, according to the report.
“The evidence shows that Coach White was the only staff member tracking the student’s academic progress as it related to NCAA eligibility,” investigators wrote.
White told interviewers that in 2010 he was concerned that no football players in that year’s graduating class would be eligible to play NCAA sports. He implemented a system where students had to bring him weekly progress reports.
White says he only requested grade changes for students who were in physical education or lifetime wellness classes he taught, and that the changes were warranted.
“However, the vast majority of the grade changes for football players made under Quinn’s credentials were for classes that were not taught by Coach White,” the report reads.
White also stored copies of altered transcripts on his computer, a fact the SCS internal investigation turned up last year, which along with alleged lies to investigators, resulted in a five-day suspension.
But the second, external investigation is the one that appears to be ending White’s storied SCS football coaching career.
Questions remain about who, if anyone other than Quinn, authorized the changes to non-athletes’ transcripts.
“An examination of transcripts, report cards, and graduation records from 2011 to 2017 revealed the systemic and pervasive nature of Trezevant’s academic improprieties,” the report concludes, “and strongly suggests that Trezevant’s school administrators either knew or should have known about the improper grade changes.”
FRI: Raptors at Grizzlies at 7, Almost Elton John at Lafayette’s, Alex Bugnon and Julian Vaughn, Pokey Lafarge at Minglewood, Terry Prince and The Principles CD release party with Native Blood and Racquet at Sounds Good Memphis, Blackwater at Railgarten
SAT: Ugly Sweater Day at The Memphis Zoo, Memphis Tiger basketball at noon, Thunder at Grizzlies at 8, Devil Train at Lafayette’s, Alvin Youngblood Hart at Railgarten
“Stranger Things” is a frigging steal, according to Crescent Electric’s new study
Tony Maglio | Last Updated: December 7, 2017 @ 1:51 PM
Binge-watching will probably end up costing us all years of our life — but how much money is it actually tacking on to the electric bill? Crescent Electric calculated exactly that and shared its findings with TheWrap.
For the study, the team considered the different factors that go into streaming — including both the cost to power the streaming device and the internet modem/router.
Selecting one of Amazon’s most popular Smart TVs (this one), Crescent located its power consumption, factored in a series’ runtime, and multiplied it all by the average electricity rate in the United States, which is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The same methodology was repeated to find the price of powering a common wifi router for the duration of each show. Summing those all together resulted in the total cost to watch each show.
OK, enough methodology — let’s get to the findings. Wanna consume all of the existing “Game of Thrones” episodes? Set aside $2.16 for the electric bill. The cable bill (or HBO Go subscription) is a whole different story, obviously.
For cheapskates, check out “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which will only run you a quarter and two pennies. Put that in your marketing materials, Hulu.
See the below pair of charts for popular live-action and animated TV shows. You’ll need to take out a second mortgage to get through “The Simpsons.”
Keep scrolling for a few bonus charts, representing classic sitcoms (and “How I Met Your Mother,” too) and some top reality TV franchises. Those enthralled with this whole thing can find even more here.