2017 Dean

The combination of windy conditions and the demands for game management and confident putting have created a logjam at the top of the leaderboard.

December 18, 2017

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Metallica is loved by all. They are the most consistently innovative metal band of the 1980s and 90s with a surprisingly melodic sound. metal band. They have a wide pool of followers and has been recorded to have caused different

December 16, 2017

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Emmanuel Macron Swerves Donald Trump To Hug Angela Merkel Instead

Did Emmanuel Macron just intentionally leave Donald Trump hanging?

Video footage has emerged that appears to show France?s newly elected president appearing to dodge his U.S. counterpart at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday.

In the clip, Macron walks up a red carpet toward a group of world leaders. He seems to be making a beeline for Trump, whose hands are outstretched, apparently in anticipation of a warm welcome.

But just feet away, Macron deftly swerves and embraces German chancellor Angela Merkel instead. He then shakes hands with other leaders, before eventually entering into another fierce handshake-off with Trump. 

Macron shared the above video via his official Twitter account late Thursday.

It?s unclear whether the possible snub was deliberate. But it came amid a summit in which Trump took aim at NATO?s European allies for ?not paying what they should be paying.?

His post is now going viral, with many fellow tweeters appearing to appreciate his apparent throwing of shade:

Trump?s nine-day jaunt to the Middle East and Western Europe has been marked by multiple awkward moments ? from him ignoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?s wave request and Pope Francis looking super sad in a photo call to other weird handshake incidents with Macron and Tajikistan?s strongman president, Emomali Rahmon.

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December 7, 2017

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Montana Republican Wins Special U.S. House Race Despite Assault Charge

Republican Greg Gianforte overcame an election eve assault charge filed against him that sparked national attention, defeating Democrat Rob Quist in the race for Montana?s open U.S. House seat Thursday.

Gianforte received 50.7 percent to Quist?s 43.5 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting late Thursday. Libertarian Mark Wicks picked up 5.8 percent of the vote.

The result is a major disappointment for progressive activists who poured money into the campaign to help Quist, a banjo-playing songwriter and political newcomer, in a bid to notch a symbolically important win against President Donald Trump.

?Your voices were definitely heard in this election,? Quist told supporters after the results were final. ?I know we came up short, but the energy in the state and the grassroots movement in the state goes on.?

The defeat is especially demoralizing for Democrats in light of the misdemeanor assault charge against Gianforte, a multimillionaire tech entrepreneur and social conservative, for allegedly ?body slamming? Ben Jacobs of The Guardian on Wednesday while the reporter was asking about the GOP health care bill. Gianforte?s campaign blamed Jacobs, casting him as a ?liberal reporter? who acted ?aggressively? toward the Republican as he was about to be interviewed by a TV crew. But Alicia Acuna, the Fox News reporter who was slated to interview Gianforte, corroborated Jacobs? version of events, and the incident spurred widespread condemnation of the Republican.

?Last night I made a mistake,? Gianforte said in his victory speech Thursday night. ?I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I?m sorry.?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the liberal group MoveOn.org had blasted Gianforte with a last-minute ad campaign highlighting the incident as evidence he was ?unfit to serve? and had ?no business being in Congress.?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urged Gianforte to apologize earlier Thursday and called his behavior ?wrong.? And three Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsement of him.

The Missoulian newspaper said ?there is no doubt that Gianforte committed an act of terrible judgment that, if it doesn?t land him in jail, also shouldn?t land him in the U.S. House of Representatives.?

A factor likely benefiting Gianforte was that before news broke of Wednesday?s altercation, more than one-third of Montana?s registered voters had cast early ballots, according to state election officials. Still, Quist?s loss will inevitably fuel criticism that the national Democratic Party got involved in the race too late.

Even before Thursday?s results were known, Jeff Hauser, a veteran progressive political strategist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research?s Revolving Door Project, had told HuffPost that ?the national Democrats who provided financial assistance after mail-in voting had already begun will have to question anew their initial reluctance to engage in the race in March and early April.?

?Early funding might have ensured more consistent tracking on Gianforte,? Hauser added, referring to the attack on the reporter. ?It almost seems like you never know when Gianforte might commit a crime under a modicum of scrutiny.?

Under almost any circumstances, a Democratic win would have been an upset. Even as Quist?s standing improved in the campaign?s final weeks, none of the polls released in advance of the race showed him ahead of Gianforte.

Montana?s at-large U.S. House seat opened up in December when Trump tapped Ryan Zinke as his interior secretary. Republican Zinke had cruised to re-election in November by nearly 16 percentage points. Trump carried the state over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by 20 points.

Democratic presidential candidates have triumphed in the state just twice since 1952, most recently when Bill Clinton won it in 1992.

Still, in a state with a sizable segment of independents, Democrats at times have held their own in down-ballot races. One of them is current Gov. Steve Bullock, who won re-election in 2016 when he defeated Gianforte by 4 percentage points.

Quist, 69, a native-born rancher?s son from the Flathead Valley and founder of the popular Mission Mountain Wood Band, had the profile to repeat Bullock?s success. But Montana?s GOP leanings proved insurmountable in a traditionally low-turnout special election.

?When this race started, I thought Quist had a 1-in-5 chance,? Jorge Quintana, a Democratic National Committee member from Montana, told HuffPost. ?I don?t think any Democrat has been disappointed with the way Quist has behaved in this campaign. He has raised a ton of money. And he has hit the state hard ? Montanans expect that.?

With grassroots opposition to Trump prompting a wellspring of national protests and small-dollar fundraising for progressive causes, Democratic leaders looked for a victory in Montana to signal waning public support for the president in historically Republican territory ? and spook GOP leaders.

But Quist?s loss comes on the heels of similar disappointments for the party. Earlier this month in Omaha, Democrat Heath Mello failed to unseat Republican Mayor Jean Stothert. In April, progressive Democrat James Thompson lost an unexpectedly close race for an open House seat in deep-red Kansas.

In 2017?s highest-profile race, Democrat Jon Ossoff fell less than two percentage points short in April of an outright win in Georgia?s 6th Congressional District, a seat Republican Tom Price gave up to become Health and Human Services Department secretary and that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once held. Ossoff faces Republican Karen Handel in a June 20 runoff election.

Democrats were able to flip two state legislative seats on Tuesday ? one in New York, the other in New Hampshire.

Quist, known throughout sprawling Montana for his music and poetry, barnstormed across the Treasure State in what at first seemed a quixotic campaign. He encouraged supporters to organize new Democratic committees in counties long neglected by the party. Until late last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee virtually ignored the race.

Quist was buoyed by support from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who Quist backed in the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign. Sanders, who won Montana?s primary over Clinton, headlined four separate campaign events for Quist this past weekend that drew thousands of supporters.

Gianforte sought to capitalize on Trump?s popularity in the state. Donald Trump Jr. and Vice President Mike Pence campaigned on his behalf. Both the president and Pence recorded a last-minute robocalls for him.

Still, Quist?s campaign gained ground as House Republicans passed the deeply unpopular healthcare bill and the White House became engulfed in a series of self-inflicted scandals. Party leaders tripled their initial investment in the race to $600,000 as polls showed it tightening earlier this month.

Quist raised more than $5 million, with his average individual donation amounting to $25 ? $2 below the figure that Sanders? constantly touted during his presidential run. Quist received more than $550,000 after Gianforte waffled on his support for the American Health Care Act that would repeal and replace Obamacare.

The 56-year-old Republican praised the bill, which threatens the health insurance coverage for at least 70,000 Montanans, in a private call to conservative lobbyists. Days later, Gianforte walked back his comments amid voter outrage after The New York Times earlier this month published audio of the call.

Quist, whose medical expenses nearly bankrupted him in the 1990s after a botched surgery left him unqualified for affordable health insurance, hammered his opponent with slogans like ?hands off our health care.?

Quist also depicted Gianforte, who sold a software company in 2011 to tech giant Oracle for $1.5 billion, as an out-of-touch millionaire guy from outside the state. The cowboy hat-clad son of Montana ranchers repeatedly skewered Gianforte as a ?New Jersey billionaire.? The Republican, born in San Diego, spent years in the Garden State before moving to Montana in 1995. His reported net worth is estimated at between $65 million and $315 million.

Gianforte raised more than $3.4 million, including a $1 million loan he made to his campaign.

Republicans attacked Quist for failing to pay commercial taxes on a barn he converted in the 1990s into a concert space and rental property. Quist defended the property in an interview with the Billings Gazette, insisting his son lived there, ?so that?s not a rental property. It?s just something that?s kind of family-owned.?

A lengthy report in the conservative Washington Free Beacon cast doubt over the botched gallbladder surgery Quist frequently cited as the pre-existing condition that prevented him from getting health insurance.

Quist?s loss may heighten Democratic concerns about the re-election prospects next year for Sen. Jon Tester, a party moderate.

Quintana, though, said he believes Tester is in good shape for a third term.

?He looks out for Montana. He?s setting himself up quite nicely for 2018,? Quintana said.

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December 5, 2017

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Onion Begs Gianforte To Beat Its Bad Staff Because They All Ask Questions

The wisecrackers at The Onion are pleading with Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte to please beat up its reporters because they?re so bad about asking politicians questions.

The tongue-in-cheek cheek provided a bit of comic relief in the stunned wake of Gianforte?s witnessed ?body slamming? of a Guardian reporter who dared to ask him about Trumpcare.

GOP billionaire Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault after the altercation Wednesday night, the eve of the special election for Montana?s lone congressional seat. He?s running against Democratic folk musician Rob Quist, and polls close Thursday night.

At least three newspapers yanked their endorsement of Gianforte, backed by Donald Trump, after a Fox News crew said they witnessed him grabbing reporter Ben Jacobs by the neck, hurling him to the floor and punching him after the journalist asked him about the Congressional Budget Office report on the GOP health care replacement bill.

The satirical Onion professed total understanding that such questions can be bothersome to politicians from the ?power-mad, out-of-control media.? The press, obviously, should ?subserviently? provide a ?mouthpiece to trumpet the will and intentions of the ruling class without question and without complaint,? it added.

Therefore, The Onion noted, it?s ?imperative? that those who ?hold the reins of power put us in our place and punish us, preferably with considerable physical force.?

If ?any of our journalists have ever made Mr. Gianforte feel threatened in any way … by holding a recorder too close to his face … seeking clarification on a point … we encourage him to use his fists, knees, elbows, or a blunt object of his choice to make it known through repeated physical blows how we have upset him,? The Onion added.

Gianforte was even invited to The Onion?s offices, where he can walk along rows of desks ?so that he may assault each and every one of us.?

Few others were laughing. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Gianforte should apologize to Jacobs. The Helena Independent Record declared: ?Democracy cannot exist without a free press, and both concepts are under attack by Republican U.S. House Candidate Greg Gianforte.

Gianforte?s camp said the candidate had been provoked to action because Jacobs ?shoved a recorder in his face? and grabbed his wrist, which was not supported by witness accounts. Montana?s Democratic governor responded that not only was Gianforte?s assault outrageous, but so was his defense.

?It is unsettling on many levels that Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a journalist and then lied, refusing to take responsibility for his actions,? Gov. Steve Bullock, who defeated Gianforte in his 2016 reelection bid, said in a statement.

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December 3, 2017

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Leaders Of Senate Russia Probe Given ‘Blanket Authority’ To Issue Subpoenas

WASHINGTON ? The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted unanimously to give its leaders ?blanket authority? to issue any subpoena they deem appropriate in their investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible ties between Moscow and President Donald Trump?s campaign.

Under regular committee rules, Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) could only issue subpoenas after a full committee vote on the matter. Thursday?s vote, however, allows the two leaders to act jointly without the approval of their fellow members ? thus speeding up the process.

On Wednesday, the committee issued two new subpoenas specifically targeting former national security adviser Michael Flynn?s businesses, Flynn Intel LLC and Flynn Intel Inc.

Flynn was fired earlier this year over failing to disclose that he had had conversations with Russian officials prior to Trump?s inauguration.

Burr and Warner maintained that Flynn?s decision to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination does not apply to his businesses and documents, adding he could be subject to a contempt charge if he doesn?t turn over the materials.

?We would like to hear from Gen. Flynn,? Burr told reporters on Wednesday. ?We?d like to see his documents. We?d like him to tell his story because he publicly said, ?I?ve got a story to tell.? We?re allowing him that opportunity.?

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December 1, 2017

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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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Survivors Of Manchester Attack Speak Out

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October 20, 2017

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Ring Purchased At Garage Sale May Be Worth Almost Half A Million Dollars

Shopping at garage sales can be hit or miss, but one lucky customer is cashing in on a major find. 

Sotheby?s will auction off a sparkly cocktail ring a woman bought at a car boot sale in 1980s England next month with a starting bid of £250,000 (roughly $325,000). She had thought for decades that it was costume jewelry and wore it without a care in the world, revealed the owner, who declined to be named publicly, the auction house said this week.

The woman had purchased the piece for £10 at a garage sale at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth in west London, according to Sotheby?s. She decided in recent months to have the ring appraised after a jeweler said the stone could be real. 

Sotheby?s Jewelry in London confirmed the stone?s authenticity ? a 19th century 26.27-carat, cushion-shaped white diamond. The auction house added that the stone has a color grade of I and an impressive clarity grade of VVS2. The ring could go for as much as £350,000 (about $450,000).

?We confirmed that it was indeed a diamond. We got it tested with the Gemological Institute of America … and that then dictated the price,? said Sotheby?s Jessica Wyndham, who heads the auction house?s jewelry department.

In the interview in the video above, Wyndham added that it was understandable the owner did not know the ring held a real diamond. 

?It was in an antique style mount, so it was quite heavy,? she said. ?It is mounted in silver around the top and when silver becomes tarnished it becomes quite black. And that mixed with the cut of the stone probably would have meant that it didn?t sparkle very much, and if it was all dirty, you just wouldn?t think that was real.?

The ring will hit auction on June 7.

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October 17, 2017

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Suspected Drunk Driver Crashes Car Into Sheriff’s New Anti-DUI Vehicle

He got the message, but apparently only once it was too late.

Police in northwest Florida say they charged a man with Driving Under the Influence after he crashed his car into a sheriff?s office vehicle that was being used to warn motorists against drink driving.

Citrus County Sheriff?s Office said Paul Wilkins, 63, struck the cones at a traffic control point in Crystal River at 10 p.m. Saturday night.

He then slammed his car into a patrol car, pushing it 30 feet into another cruiser which was emblazoned with the slogan ?a cop or a cab, you decide? ? the rear of which was made to look like a taxi.

?The irony!? the office wrote on Facebook.

Florida Highway Patrol officers arrested Wilkins. Deputies later transported him in the same anti-DUI vehicle to Citrus County Detention Facility.

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October 16, 2017

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Trump Reportedly Asked Intel Chiefs To Publicly Deny Russia Ties

Another account of President Donald Trump attempting to push back on the investigation of his campaign?s ties to the Russian government emerged Monday evening, as The Washington Post reported that the president asked two top intelligence officials to deny any evidence of collusion. 

According to the report, Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers to publicly deny that there is any evidence of connections between Trump?s team and Russia. Those requests reportedly came in late March, after then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his bureau was looking into the Trump campaign?s ties to Russia.

Coats and Rogers reportedly rejected the requests.

The Post also said that White House officials sought to influence Comey directly:

In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump?s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. The officials said the White House appeared uncertain about its power to influence the FBI.

?Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?? one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.

?The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals,? a White House spokesperson said in a statement emailed to HuffPost in response to the Post article. ?The president will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people.?

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the report raised ?troubling? possibilities:

The Post?s article is the latest in a series of revelations indicating that Trump and his associates have sought to intervene in the FBI?s Russia probe. 

The cascade of news began May 9, when Trump fired Comey, at first citing his conduct during the investigation of Hillary Clinton?s private email server. Trump later said he considered the Russia investigation while weighing Comey?s future at the Justice Department. 

One week later, multiple news outlets reported that Trump had asked Comey during a private meeting on Feb. 14 to stop the investigation of Flynn, whom Trump had fired the day before.

?I hope you can let this go,? the president said to Comey, according to notes Comey reportedly wrote soon after the meeting.

That revelation sparked concern on both sides of the aisle, and some Democrats raised the possibility that the president?s request could constitute obstruction of justice.  

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it was appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. Trump attacked the appointment on Twitter, calling the investigation ?the single greatest witch hunt? in U.S. political history. 

And on Friday, the The New York Times reported that Trump had described Comey as a ?nut job? to Russian officials visiting the White House earlier this month, telling them that firing the FBI director eased ?great pressure? on the Russia investigation.

The same day, The Washington Post reported that the FBI is also investigating a current White House official in connection with the Russia probe, in addition to several former campaign officials.

Amid all this, Trump and the White House have denied any wrongdoing and have argued the investigation is detrimental to the country.

?I believe it hurts our country terribly because it shows we?re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country,? Trump said Thursday. ?And we have very important things to be doing right now, whether it?s trade deals, whether it?s military, whether it?s stopping nuclear ? all of the things that we discussed today. And I think this shows a very divided country.?

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October 10, 2017

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Nicki Minaj Has Been Donating Money To An Indian Village For Years

Earlier this month, a generous-feeling Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to say that she wanted to help some hardworking students pay off their tuition bills.

Minaj ended up not only making good on her promise, but also later announcing that she had decided to create an ?official charity? to help other deserving college students pay off their loans. 

Perhaps hoping to keep the momentum going, the hip-hop superstar revealed another bit of her charitable side over the weekend. In two Instagram posts, Minaj said that she?s been giving money to Pastor Lydia Sloley for years to help pay for a computer center, a reading program, a tailoring institute and two water wells in a small village in India.

?I?m so proud of our sisters in India,? she wrote alongside one image. ?God is so good. Their desire was to have water wells & places where they can worship, places where they can learn technology, computers, reading, etc. We?re just getting started. These women are us and we are them!?

In a video accompanying one of the two posts, a man can be heard thanking Pastor Sloley for the funding she provided (with Minaj?s help) to build the water well. The pastor has created partnerships with two churches in India, hoping she ?empowers women to start their own businesses,? according to her website.

?This is the kind of thing that makes me feel the most proud,? wrote Minaj.

She then added, ?We complain about the most ridiculous little things when some [people] don?t even have clean water. Blessings to India. Our work is far from done.?

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October 6, 2017

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Neil Gorsuch Shows His Hand On Money In Politics As Court Turns Down Big Case

WASHINGTON ? Newly minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch showed his hand Monday on where he will likely stand on cases that would increase the amount of power held by large political donors.

As the Supreme Court declined to hear a major campaign finance case that could have led to the lifting of campaign contribution limits to political parties, Gorsuch joined Justice Clarence Thomas in an unwritten dissent. That means Gorsuch and Thomas wanted the court to hear the case, and likely wanted to vote to overturn yet another limit on big money in politics.

The case, Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, challenged contribution limits placed on state-level political parties by the 2002 McCain-Feingold reform law. These are the limits on ?soft money,? unlimited contributions to the parties for supposedly non-electoral activities, imposed in the wake of scandals related to both how the money was raised and how it was spent.

Gorsuch?s decision to join Thomas, a noted opponent of campaign finance restriction with a written record opposed to all campaign contribution limits and some disclosure rules, suggests that he, too, will be an outspoken critic of restrictions on money in politics.

During his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch refused to answer questions about his views on this subject ? as he did with nearly every other topic presented to him.

Rick Hasen, election law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote of Gorsuch?s dissenting vote: ?He was not shy at all ? not only about being willing to wade into this very controversial area, but about announcing publicly his vote to hear the case (something he did not need to do). It could well be that he will be as conservative as Justice Thomas is in these cases.?

The conservative Supreme Court majority that came into being after Justice Sandra Day O?Connor retired from the bench has struck down numerous campaign money limitations. It struck down a key pillar of the McCain-Feingold law in its 2010 Citizens United decision by allowing independent spending by corporations and unions. In the 2014 McCutcheon case, the conservative majority killed limits on the aggregate amount a single donor can give in a two-year election cycle.

In McCutcheon, Chief Justice John Roberts hinted that he might want to reconsider the court?s ruling upholding the McCain-Feingold soft money restrictions. Roberts wrote that the ?gratitude? members of a party may feel toward donors to their particular political party ?stems from the basic nature of the party system.? Roberts then cast doubt that these contributions could be viewed as an opportunity for ?quid pro quo corruption,? the only justification the conservative majority allows for restrictions on campaign money.

This was the third time conservative lawyer Jim Bopp has brought a challenge to the McCain-Feingold ?soft money? ban to the Supreme Court. In his first attempt, the court declined to take the case, although three justices dissented. The parties involved in the second challenge dropped their case before the court could decide whether to take it up.

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October 3, 2017

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