Progressives In Congress Call For $2 Trillion In Infrastructure Spending

WASHINGTON ? Progressive members of Congress on Thursday unveiled their own plan to overhaul the nation?s crumbling roads, bridges and waterways ? an ambitious proposal that dwarfs plans offered both by President Donald Trump and Senate Democrats.

The so-called ?21st Century New Deal for Jobs? invests $2 trillion over the next 10 years to make badly needed repairs to the nation?s transportation, water, energy and information systems. It contains several progressive priorities, including the use of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards, maintenance of racial and gender equity in hiring, focus on low-income communities and carbon-free energy production.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who spearheaded the effort, said the plan would employ 2.5 million Americans in its first year.

?This is how we take our country back. This is how we do job creation,? he said at a press conference organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Capitol Hill.

Unlike Trump?s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which prioritizes tax incentives to fund infrastructure projects by a 5-1 margin, the progressive initiative relies directly on public investment. The CPC says it would be paid by the closing of unspecified corporate tax loopholes, a new tax on Wall Street transactions, and by repatriating funds held by U.S. companies overseas.

While Trump has yet to release his promised infrastructure plan, its broad outlines look very different from the wish list offered by progressives. The president?s proposal is said to include only $200 billion in public spending. The remainder of the initiative is said to rely on private tax incentives meant to spur investment in infrastructure projects. Such funding mechanisms, known as public-private partnerships, often involve privately financed toll roads.

Deficit-averse Republicans in Congress are unlikely to consider a big spending proposal. The progressive infrastructure effort, rather, attempts to offer a clear contrast between Democratic and Republican policies ahead of the 2018 midterm election.

?President Trump has suggested that he will address the infrastructure gap. His ideas, however, are insufficient. They are riddled with fancy and unnecessary gimmicks, and laced with tax breaks for his wealthy friends,? the CPC says. ?We cannot afford to accept a plan like this that helps Wall Street investors, but leaves ordinary Americans behind.?

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November 27, 2017

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Pigeon Grounded After It’s Caught Smuggling Drugs In Tiny Backpack

A homing pigeon in Kuwait is no longer flying high after it was caught carrying a tiny backpack filled with drugs, according to reports.

Kuwaiti customs nabbed the feathered drug mule while it was flying near Iraq?s border, Al Arabiya English reported.

Photos from news site show the bird wearing a light blue pouch cut open to expose a number of white pills.

Reporter Abdullah Fahmi, with the Kuwaiti paper al-Rai, told the BBC that the drugs were identified as a type of ketamine, which is an anesthetic that can be abused as a ?club drug,? according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Some of its effects include hallucinations and amnesia.

Fahmi said this was the first time law enforcement officials there had caught a bird carrying such contraband, though they said they knew drug smugglers were using the bird-brained scheme.

In 2015, authorities in Costa Rica captured a similar drug-run by a pigeon. Prison guards reportedly found that bird carrying cocaine and cannabis.

Then in 2011, police in Colombia reportedly found a pigeon struggling to fly over a prison wall because a large amount of cocaine and marijuana had been strapped to its body.

Unsurprisingly, social media users had a field day over the Kuwaiti pigeon.

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November 24, 2017

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Zeke Smith Relives Being Outed As Transgender On ‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Finale

?It became a worldwide cultural moment,? host Jeff Probst told the audience at the live ?Survivor: Game Changers? finale, referring to the disappointing and shocking moment when Jeff Varner randomly outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as transgender on the April 12 episode. 

The emotional tribal council was heartbreaking for Smith, who had not publicly come out as trans at that point, but it ultimately led to an important discussion about supporting people who are trying to be their authentic selves. 

?I was really scared because I didn?t know what was going to happen to my world. I didn?t know what the reaction was going to be,? Smith said during Season 34?s reunion show on Wednesday night. ?What this experience has shown me is I have so much love in my life … I?ve never felt as loved as I do right now.?

The 29-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, was blindsided by the outing, but has since come to realize that the moment has only made him stronger. 

?When I transitioned, I was hit with a pretty big bout of depression, like a lot of people are, and I almost failed out of Harvard, I was living at home, I was alone, I was pretty helpless. And I started watching ?Survivor,? and I binged 20 seasons, and it took me away,? Smith said. ?I got to go on an adventures with Ozzy [Lusth] and Cirie [Fields[ and with Sandra [Diaz-Twine] and it got me through. And, slowly, I got to put my life back together, but there was something ? there was a courage and a boldness … something inside of me knew I had to go play ?Survivor.? And I found that courage and that boldness in Fiji. I found it on the beaches. And in so many ways, ?Survivor? has given me my life back.?

As for Varner?s thoughts on the backlash, he, of course, knows he was in the wrong. ?This has been very difficult. I got hit hard,? he said. ?It was really ugly for a period of time.?

But then, as Varner explained, it changed after he admitted to his mistake and turned it into something positive.

?There?s a book in the works that I?m working on, it?s entitled Surviving Shame,? he added, to the surprise of some of his castmates. ?And you get the first copy,? Varner told Probst. 

?I love that you?re turning this into something positive,? Probst concluded. 

Let?s hope more meaningful conversations continue. 

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November 17, 2017

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Mom Recreates Her Viral Dancing Maternity Video With Her Baby Girl

Spanish actress, dancer and model Gemma Marin has racked up more than 1 million views on her viral dancing maternity videos. The videos became so popular that it seemed fitting for Marin to celebrate the arrival of her daughter with one epic first dance.

In February, Marin posted a video that showed her dancing at 33 weeks pregnant alongside her partner, boxer Israel Duffus.

?Three people one soul,? she wrote in the caption.

As of Wednesday, the video had been viewed more than 1.2 million times. Its popularity encouraged Marin to share more dancing videos. The couple even tried dancing when Marin was 40 weeks pregnant in April to help induce labor.

?We?ve tried everything!? she wrote in the Instagram caption. ?Spicy, famous salads, teas, walk, sex, chocolate… even yesterday we did another dance! Alexandra is just too comfortable inside.?

A few days later, she gave birth to her daughter, Alexandra. The dancer and her partner celebrated with ? you guessed it ? a first dance with their daughter.

On Tuesday, Marin posted a video on Instagram and Youtube that showed clips of Marin and (a baby-wearing) Duffus dancing as well as clips from their first viral dancing video.

?We are so grateful for having all of you following the last part of my pregnancy, and our life with Alexandra,? Marin wrote in the caption. ?Her FIRST DANCE is dedicated to all of YOU.?

According to her Instagram, the proud mom plans on sharing her love for dance with her daughter. In a caption to one of her dancing maternity videos, she wrote, ?Dancing is in our veins.?

The HuffPost Parents newsletter, So You Want To Raise A Feminist, offers the latest stories and news in progressive parenting.   

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November 11, 2017

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The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 7 Trailer Is Finally Here

Attention, citizens of Westeros, the wait is over: Hype is coming.

With the need to push production to colder months because winter has come on ?Game of Thrones,? the wait for the Season 7 trailer has been torture. It?s literally been like watching ice melt, which is what HBO made us do to find out the premiere date.

There have been some Season 7 teasers and photos along the way, but now, by the mercy of the seven gods, the trailer is finally here. 

In it, we see Dany (Emilia Clarke) finally reaching Westeros, the Lannisters possibly getting nervous, Arya (Maisie Williams) freezing her butt off, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) apparently having some problems and dragons ? big dragons.

One of the most interesting parts is Jon Snow?s confrontation with Littlefinger, which looks like it happens in the Winterfell crypts. That?s where many are speculating that Jon will learn of his Targaryen heritage.

Just be ready. With only two seasons left, it?s not looking good for most of the characters. As the show says, ?All men must die.?

?Game of Thrones? Season 7 premieres on July 16.

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November 9, 2017

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Yankee Stadium Plays ‘God Save The Queen’ To Honor Manchester Attack Victims

The New York Yankees honored the victims of the recent deadly terrorist attack in Manchester by playing the U.K.?s national anthem at the start of Tuesday?s game.

Players, officials and fans stood as ?God Save The Queen? echoed throughout Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, paying tribute to the 22 people killed and at least 59 others injured in the worst terrorist attack in the U.K. in over a decade.

The venue?s jumbo video screens displayed ?Our thoughts and prayers to the victims in Manchester? alongside images of the U.K. flag and memorial candles during the tribute. ?The Star-Spangled Banner? followed the U.K.?s anthem before the first pitch was thrown out for the game versus the Kansas City Royals.

?I think you always think about it,? Yankees manager Joe Girardi told The Associated Press before the game. ?I think our people have done a really good job doing everything they can to protect our fans and protect the players and everyone involved that?s here in this building, you, me, but you?re always worried. I mean, that?s the world we live in. So you put your faith in the people that are taking care of us and you trust them.?

At least 20 people remained in critical condition at U.K. hospitals on Wednesday morning following the devastating Monday evening suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, in which 22-year-old Salman Abedi, a British man of Libyan descent, detonated an improvised explosive device at the end of U.S. pop star Ariana Grande?s concert.

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November 4, 2017

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