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Friday, April 27, 2018

Holy Fuck, They Actually Found Bill Cosby Guilty

NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania— First there was the running—everyone was running to get inside the courtroom. All the updates from court officials had, so far, said it was a jury question, but this one was different. It said court will reconvene, and the guess was a verdict. The national and international media, mostly gone for the criminal retrial of Bill Cosby, were back. Bodies were everywhere, frantically scurrying up the marble steps with laptops clutched, waiting on the long line to get inside the once sparsely populated courtroom.
Inside, everyone waited. Reporters waited; spectators waited; the women in the gallery who said they, too, were drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby waited; the lawyers waited; and Andrea Constand and her family waited. After more than a month of pretrial motions, jury selection, and a brutal trial, this was all that was left. We all speculated. What else could we do?
Earlier in the day, court officials had reminded us there there could be no displays of support for either side, and Judge Steven O’Neill had reminded everyone of the decorum order. Given the profile of the person involved, the intense scrutiny of the proceeding, and myriad appeals expected from Cosby’s legal team if he was convicted, I was sympathetic to strident efforts to maintaining order in the court. When the first guilty rang out, though, I could hear the cries behind behind me. I had no idea who they were coming from or why, no idea whether they were cries of joy or horror. I did hear the vague, muffled sound of officials saying they had to leave. I found out later that they were from the other Cosby accusers in the gallery. I understand why they were removed, and I understand why they had to cry.
Victoria Valentino hugs Therese Serignese on the right, and Caroline Heldman and Lili Bernard react after the guilty verdict.
Minutes later, Cosby lashed out. After so many years of peddling himself as America’s Dad, wearing sweaters that said “Hello, Friend,” and selling one of the softest foods on Earth, the mask of innocence fell for a moment. District Attorney Kevin Steele had asked O’Neill to revoke Cosby’s bond, a request O’Neill denied. As part of the debate, Steele mentioned how Cosby’s great resources, including a plane, could allow him to flee. Cosby lashed out, bizarrely referring to himself in the third person: “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole.” He had been convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault—told by a jury of his peers that he was guilty of drugging Constand and then, among other things, penetrating her with his fingers—and what seemed to offend him was the suggestion that he owned a plane.
Order was restored, the minutiae of Cosby’s legal responsibilities going forward were sorted out and, just like that, the courtroom quickly emptied. After so many years, so many women coming forward, so many campaigns to silence them, it all happened in minutes. By dusk, many of the satellite trucks were gone; the only evidence left was some litter and designations for photographers written on gaffers tape.
But in the moment after the verdict, the gauntlet of media remained. Out of habit, I apologized to the camera people outside for not being Cosby as I walked down the steps. When Cosby’s legal team emerged, nearly everyone ran after them, a stampede of heavy TV cameras. I quickly got out of their running path, because otherwise I just would have gotten knocked over. For weeks, the Cosby team had given lengthy press conferences in which nothing was held sacred and no blow too low. Today, they said very little; there were just a few sparse quotes from defense lawyer Tom Mesereau to tide the hungry mob over.
Next came the press conference from Steele’s office. Last year’s press conference was entirely different. It was a dreary, rainy Saturday, and you could feel the disappointment in the room. Reporters peppered Steele with questions about his campaign (an ad when he ran for district attorney mentioned the Cosby case), strategic choices prosecutors made in the case, and the cost to taxpayers of the trial and upcoming retrial. A few minutes before it started, Camille Cosby’s statement insulting nearly everyone in the criminal justice system, except her husband’s defense team, had gone out to everyone. Steele looked like he took the mistrial decision hard. I cursed on live TV. It was a shitty day.
This time, the very first thing Steele did was thank Constand.
“Andrea Constand came here to Norristown for justice, and that’s what 12 jurors from Montgomery County provided her,” Steele said. “I would be remiss if I did not thank those 12 jurors for their diligence, the sacrifice they made, as well as the sacrifices of their families so they could serve in this important duty that they did. So today we are finally in a place to say that justice was done.”
Steele thanked a lot of people. He thanked the judge who unsealed the deposition; he thanked Constand’s lawyers who so expertly grilled Cosby in that deposition; he thanked his predecessor, Risa Vetri Ferman, who reopened the case; he thanked his young prosecutors on the case, Kristen Feden and M. Stewart Ryan; he thanked all five of the additional witnesses who took the stand and underwent brutal cross examinations, having their own morality called into question; he even thanked those who said they would testify but couldn’t. (Steele’s office had requested that 19 “prior bad acts” witnesses be allowed, but O’Neill granted just five.)
“Nineteen were willing to stand up with us in this prosecution and take the stand,” Steele said. “We are humbled by the courage all of them showed.”
Constand didn’t speak; she’s still bound by the nondisclosure agreement she signed with Cosby. But plenty were willing to talk about the gratitude they believed she deserved, not just for what happened today but for the #MeToo movement. Steele, multiple times, openly gushed about his admiration for Constand.
“I hope the end result will not cause somebody to refrain from coming forward because we got the right result in this. And, yes, it was difficult. People were put through character assassinations and it was very difficult to sit through and watch. But you also saw what the jury did in the end, and I hope that people recognize that you have got to show courage like this lady,” Steele said, referring to Constand. “She showed courage. She stepped up. She went forward. And we got to the right result. And she stayed through this. She didn’t have to start down this journey with us. She didn’t have to come for the first trial. She didn’t have to come for the second trial. She did. That means so much.”
Constant’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, also talked about her client. 
“This is a life altering experience, for anyone, for any victim,” Troiani said. “And the person who I think needs to be heralded for what she had done is Andrea.”
Through it all, the cameras constantly clicked in the background. Turks, the now famous courthouse comfort dog, took a nap. This time, victory in hand, reporters were asking questions about sexual assault victims, and Steele spoke openly and passionately about the importance of prosecutors taking on cases like this, fighting for victims, and treating them with respect. And the questions about the cost of the case? Now that he’s been found guilty, Steele’s office can request that Cosby reimburse the Commonwealth for it. Steele said he will make that request.
“I will be relying on defense counsel’s opening remarks, when he talked about$3.38 million being a paltry sum, or nuisance. So clearly the cost of prosecution in this matter should not be a problem for the defendant,” Steele said.
Cosby’s legal team will appeal, and there’s no way to predict what will happen at sentencing. But nobody could have predicted, when Constand decided to call law enforcement back in 2005, the strange road this case would take to a conviction. It was not perfect. It was not ideal. Constand and her loved ones uprooted themselves—twice—to another country where they were called con artists, liars, gold diggers, and untrustworthy. But a jury of his peers found Cosby guilty today. None of this happens without her. That was true in 2005. That was true in 2014. That’s true now.

Friday, April 14, 2017

U.S. drops ‘MOAB,’ a ‘Mother of All Bombs,’ in Afghanistan

The Pentagon said Thursday that U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped the military’s largest non-nuclear bomb on an Islamic State target in eastern Afghanistan. This is the first time a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) has been used in combat.
The Pentagon says the bomb was dropped on a cave complex believed to be used by ISIS fighters in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the Pakistan border.
Here’s what you need to know:
·   The MOAB, also known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” was dropped out of a C-130 aircraft in Afghanistan for the first time on Thursday.
·  The MOAB had never been used in combat until now. It was brought into service in 2008.
·  The MOAB weighs 21,000 pounds, including 18,000 pounds of explosives.
·  It is the largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal.
·  The MOAB is considered similar to a small nuclear weapon.
·  The concept behind the MOAB was first developed in the Vietnam War through the BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, nicknamed the “Daisy Cutter.” That weighed 15,000 pounds and, with a huge blast radius, was used to clear jungles. In addition, it was a psychological weapon, in that the loud sound and huge flash helped create “shock and awe” in the enemy. The bomb was later used in Afghanistan.
·  During the George W. Bush administration, the BLU-82B gave way to the even larger GBU-43, or MOAB.
·  It was first tested back in 2003.
·  The bomb, in its first combat use, was dropped on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangahar province. MOAB is designed for such a situation—it explodes in the air, which creates air pressure that can make tunnels and other structures collapse.  It can be used at the start of an offensive to soften up the enemy, weakening both its infrastructure and morale.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Christian mom blogger reveals she is dating disgraced soccer star Abby Wambach in her latest confessional post sharing sweet selfie of them together

A Christian mommy blogger has announced she is dating retired soccer star Abby Wambach.
Glennon Doyle Melton posted a smiling picture of herself and Wambach on Sunday, with the caption: 'Oh my God, she is so good to me. She loves me for all the things I've always wanted to be loved for. She's just my favorite. My person.'
Both are newly single.
Wambach, who lost her sponsors after a DUI last April, is currently in the process of divorcing fellow soccer star, and wife of three years, Sarah Huffman. While Melton announced her divorce from Craig Melton, her husband of 14 years, in August.

Glennon Doyle Melton posted a smiling picture of herself and Wambach on Sunday to announce their relationship
In the caption she wrote: ' Feels like the world could use all the love it can get right now. So today, I'm going to share with you my new love'

The relationship may come as something of a surprise for fans of the Christian author - whose book Love Warrior was featured in Oprah's Book Club.
But regular readers of her blog Momastery won't be surprised by her openness about the new relationship.
Melton, a mother-of-three, is known as the ultimate confessional writer, for her honest portrayals of her struggling marriage, addiction and eating disorder, according to the Washington Post.
She has also been a champion of LGBT rights, and insists that same-sex marriage is not contrary to the church.
Since coming out about her first gay relationship, some fellow Christian bloggers have offered their support on her Facebook post.
The Christian mommy blogger Glennon Doyle Melton (left) announced she is dating retired soccer star Abby Wambach (right) on Sunday

On Sunday, Melton revealed the relationship on Facebook saying; 'Feels like the world could use all the love it can get right now. So today, I'm going to share with you my new love.
'Her name is Abby. You might recognize her from soccer.' 
She said her ex-husband Craig supports her relationship with Wambach and that they make 'beautiful, modern family' together.
Melton said her children also loved the soccer star, branding her 'an M&M because she looks tough on the outside but inside she's really mushy and sweet. '
'They're lucky kids, to be surrounded by so much love. We have family dinners together — all six of us — and Abby cooks. (She is an AMAZING chef because Jesus loves me). We go to the kids' school parties together. We are a modern, beautiful family. Our children are loved. So loved. And because of all of that love, they are brave.' 
Melton announced her divorce from Craig Melton (pictured with her and their children) her husband of 14 years, in August

Wambach, who was one of the inspirational guests of honor on Melton's book tour, The Together Tour, in September, has been more private about their new relationship.
But she too has been blisteringly honest about her past. 
Wambach (pictured in her mugshot after DUI arrest)
In the memoir, released earlier this year, the retired US national team star recounts her career, revealed her struggle with alcohol and prescription drugs for years prior to her arrest for driving under the influence this past April.
Chapters in the book are words that she has been labeled: tomboy, captain, lesbian, and addict.
Wambach spends a good portion of the book detailing her bouts with vodka and pills, which included Vicodin, Ambien and Adderall. 
But she says she has been sober since the night she was pulled over in Portland, Oregon, after dinner with friends. 
Wambach said that night was a culmination of events as her life spiraled out of control. Her marriage was on the rocks, she was wrestling with her retirement and her direction, and she had just taken a new job with ESPN.
Melton has a spiritual bent on her writing and a coveted place on the Oprah Book Club list
In the memoir, released earlier this year, the retired US national team star recounts her career, revealed her struggle with alcohol and prescription drugs for years prior to her arrest for driving under the influence this past April (pictured playing Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup, 2011)
She issued a statement on Facebook after she was released from jail the next morning, taking full responsibility for her actions and apologizing to her friends, family and fans. 
In the aftermath, the car company MINI USA withdrew her from its heavily promoted advertising campaign, which also starred tennis great Serena Williams.
Melton's news comes just two months after her friend Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, also announced her lesbian relationship.
Gilbert, whose book about her struggle to find herself, announced in September she was in a romantic relationship with her female best friend, just two months after divorcing over the summer.
Both Gilbert and Melton share a spiritual influence on their writing and much more - a coveted place on the Oprah Book Club list.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

When Melania Trump Met Michelle Obama, Their Clothes Did Some of the Talking

Melania Trump and Michelle Obama met for tea on Thursday in the White House

Whatever their feelings about Donald J. Trump winning the presidential election, President Obama and the first lady have been careful to demonstrate that it is time “to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face,” as Mr. Obama said when he met the president-elect at the White House on Thursday. Hillary Clinton began the messaging when she wore a purple-lapel Ralph Lauren pantsuit for her concession speech on Wednesday morning, uniting red and blue in a single shade as she urged the country to unite. And Michelle Obama continued the subliminal signals when she chose a purple Narciso Rodriguez dress with an orange aftershock sunburst curve for her meeting with Melania Trump.It was a nice bit of color diplomacy.But it also wasn’t without implicit references to Mr. Obama’s administration and legacy. After all, it was the second time she wore Mr. Rodriguez this week, the first time being for her final speech for Mrs. Clinton in Philadelphia, delivered in a navy coat by the designer.Mr. Rodriguez is, as it happens, Cuban-American, the son of immigrants and a classic American success story. He is currently the subject of a retrospective at the Frost Art Museum in Miami, chosen in part, the curator told The New York Times, because “It is very important to incorporate the accomplishments of Latin American artists, architects and designers into the canon of history.”Mr. Rodriguez was also the designer of the black and red dress that Mrs. Obama wore when her husband gave his victory speech in Chicago in 2008.Something of a contrast was, not surprisingly, provided by Mrs. Trump. For the visit to Washington on Thursday, she wore a streamlined sleeveless black sheath dress, a matching coat and Christian Louboutin heels. Thus far, as was the case throughout the campaign, no brand has issued the traditional news release about Mrs. Trump wearing its designs, most likely because she buys her clothes herself, rather than working through a stylist or brand. (The shoes were recognizable because of the brand’s signature red soles).Whether that will change when she is in the White House remains to be seen. In the meantime, the fact she wore black instead of her usual white or pastel shades has got some people riled up. (“Melania Trump wore a funereal black dress to the White House,” Yahoo News cried.)Personally, I think it’s too early to judge whether Mrs. Trump thinks about her clothes in communications terms, so I’m going to hold off on reading too much into the shade. Rather, I’d say she looked polished and professional, and as if she wasn’t trying to call attention to herself, though that is kind of unavoidable.Indeed, as Mrs. Obama showed over the past eight years — and reiterated on Thursday — a wardrobe can be a powerful platform for a first lady, making points without her having to say a word. Given Mrs. Trump’s reported antipathy for public performance, it might serve her very well as she assumes her new role 

Emma Stone Says Ryan Gosling "Has a Restraining Order Against" Her

Could La La Land be the last movie that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling make together? If the actor has anything to say about it, quite possibly.
The famous redhead joked about their longtime friendship to E! News while making her way into InStyle and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 2017 Miss Golden Globes bash in Los Angeles last night, and the actress seems to think that Gosling is getting sick of her. "He has a restraining order against me now," Stone said with a laugh. "I'm just going to have to stay like a hundred feet at everything else we do together. No, it's so much fun to work with him and I don't know if they'll let us do anything else."
But fans of the onscreen duo shouldn't worry—the star was only kidding. "The restraining order isn't real, could you tell that I was joking?" she said reassuringly. "It's not real, it's not real."