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BREAKING: Trump tried to get James Comey to kill the investigation into Michael Flynn, NYT reports

  • President Donald Trump attempted to get former FBI Director James Comey to kill the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a new report from the New York Times.
  • The Times report cites a memo written by Comey shortly after his conversation with Trump. 
  • The Times reported parts of the memo were read to one of its reporters by a source identified as one of Comey’s associates.
  • “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump allegedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
  • The Times described the memo as “part of paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation.”
  • The White House denied the allegation in a statement to the Times, saying the account relayed to the paper is “not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.” Read more (5/16/17 6 PM)
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As a neonatal intensive care nurse, Lauren Bloomstein had been taking care of other people’s babies for years. Finally, at 33, she was expecting one of her own. The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy, her husband Larry recalled recently— “the happiest and most alive I’d ever seen her.”

Other than some nausea in her first trimester, the pregnancy went smoothly. Lauren was “tired in the beginning, achy in the end,” said Jackie Ennis, her best friend since high school, who talked to her at least once a day. “She gained what she’s supposed to. She looked great, she felt good, she worked as much as she could” — at least three 12-hour shifts a week until late into her ninth month. Larry, a doctor, helped monitor her blood pressure at home, and all was normal.

On her days off she got organized, picking out strollers and car seats, stocking up on diapers and onesies. After one last pre-baby vacation to the Caribbean, she and Larry went hunting for their forever home, settling on a brick colonial with black shutters and a big yard in Moorestown, N.J., not far from his new job as an orthopedic trauma surgeon in Camden. Lauren wanted the baby’s gender to be a surprise, so when she set up the nursery she left the walls unpainted — she figured she’d have plenty of time to choose colors later. Despite all she knew about what could go wrong, she seemed untroubled by the normal expectant-mom anxieties. Her only real worry was going into labor prematurely. “You have to stay in there at least until 32 weeks,” she would tell her belly. “I see how the babies do before 32. Just don’t come out too soon.”

When she reached 39 weeks and six days — Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 — Larry and Lauren drove to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, the hospital where the two of them had met in 2004 and where she’d spent virtually her entire career. If anyone would watch out for her and her baby, Lauren figured, it would be the doctors and nurses she worked with on a daily basis. She was especially fond of her obstetrician/gynecologist, who had trained as a resident at Monmouth at the same time as Larry. Lauren wasn’t having contractions, but she and the ob/gyn agreed to schedule an induction of labor — he was on call that weekend and would be sure to handle the delivery himself.

Inductions often go slowly, and Lauren’s labor stretched well into the next day. Ennis talked to her on the phone several times: “She said she was feeling okay, she was just really uncomfortable.” At one point, Lauren was overcome by a sudden, sharp pain in her back near her kidneys or liver, but the nurses bumped up her epidural and the stabbing stopped.

Inductions have been associated with higher cesarean-section rates, but Lauren progressed well enough to deliver vaginally. On Saturday, Oct. 1, at 6:49 p.m., 23 hours after she checked into the hospital, Hailey Anne Bloomstein was born, weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces. Larry and Lauren’s family had been camped out in the waiting room; now they swarmed into the delivery area to ooh and aah, marveling at how Lauren seemed to glow.

Larry floated around on his own cloud of euphoria, phone camera in hand. In one 35-second video, Lauren holds their daughter on her chest, stroking her cheek with a practiced touch. Hailey is bundled in hospital-issued pastels and flannel, unusually alert for a newborn; she studies her mother’s face as if trying to make sense of a mystery that will never be solved. The delivery room staff bustles in the background in the low-key way of people who believe everything has gone exactly as it’s supposed to.

Then Lauren looks directly at the camera, her eyes brimming.

Twenty hours later, she was dead.

Focus On Infants During Childbirth Leaves U.S. Moms In Danger

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DOJ opens investigation into fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards

  • The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Texas. The 15-year-old was shot in the head with an AR-15 by a white police officer, who has since been fired and charged with murder.
  • In a Thursday email to Reuters, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Brittany Dunn confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice had opened an investigation into the Edwards’  shooting.
  • The Dallas D.A.’s office is conducting its own separate investigation. Edwards’ family has filed a lawsuit against Oliver, as well. Read more (5/12/17)

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James Comey says the FBI is investigating possible Trump-Russia ties at hearing

  • FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee Monday morning in a high-profile hearing that could have a lasting impact on Trump and his administration’s credibility.
  • In a major moment, Comey confirmed that there is an active investigation into whether there are “any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign” and Russians who meddled in the U.S. election.
  • Comey added there is no timetable for how long the investigation will take. "I can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead,“ Comey said. Read more (3/20/17 10:36 AM)

Dragons are feared. They’re dangerous. They’re huge and powerful and could crush most men with a step. Only, Person A? They aren’t. Sure, they’re a dragon. They have scales and some magic and a lair with a nice sized hoard ( though it’s mostly only sentimental value ), but most of the time they travel the world as a human, exploring and investigating the world as a whole; fascinated by the humans and elves and all the other interesting little mortals. Of course, they are a little peeved by the whole bad reputation they have - especially because they wouldn’t hurt a fly. But they enjoy their life largely. Traveling around and pretending to be mortal bard/knight/ranger/etc, they’ve seen a lot.

Person B is another dragon. Their attitude towards the mortals is inconsequential, because regardless of it, they have come under attack. A local lord claims that B was behind the mass destruction of several cities, and thus, B was forced out of their home - their lair - and out into the world. Only, a massive dragon flying through the sky is a little conspicuous, so they’ve opted to go incognito as a human.

Person A is curious though. Having heard of B before, though not having met them, they doubt B actually did anything, and set out to investigate. B’s investigating too, and they happen upon each other - completely clueless as to their true forms. Together they team up to get to the bottom of it, and set out on a quest, facing off against, wizards, giants, knights, and - worst of all - politicians.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes To Step Aside From Russia Probe

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says he is temporarily stepping aside from the committee’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Nunes will remain as the committee’s chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take lead on the Russia investigation.

The chairman has been dogged by calls that he recuse himself after he “secretly went to the White House grounds to meet with a source, before he surprised his colleagues by briefing the president — and the press — on information they hadn’t seen,” as we’ve reported.

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65% of Americans want a special prosecutor for Trump-Russia investigation

  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans say an independent special prosecutor should handle an investigation into Trump and his campaign’s potential communication with Russia during the presidential election, according to a new CNN-ORC poll published Monday morning.
  • The 65% of Americans who want an independent special prosecutor includes 43% of Republicans and 67% of independents, according to the survey. Read more (3/6/17 7:41 AM)

Before they get to work on reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress and the White House might want to take a closer look at the last time they tried it — a $16 billion fix called the Veterans Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, designed to get veterans medical care more quickly.

NPR and local member stations have been following that money, including the $10 billion for vets to get care outside the VA system. The Choice Act also channeled about $2.5 billion for hiring more doctors, nurses and other medical staff at VA medical centers.

The goal of the hiring money was to address a simple math problem. The number of veterans coming to the VA has shot up in recent years, and the number of medical staff has not kept pace. The idea was that more caregivers would cut wait times.

But an investigation by NPR and local member stations found that: the VA has about the same number of new hires as the VA would have been projected to hire without the additional $2.5 billion; the new hires weren’t sent to VA hospitals with the longest wait times; and the VA medical centers that got new hires were not more likely to see improved wait times.

VA Hospitals Still Struggling With Adding Staff Despite Billions From Choice Act

Graphic: Brittany Mayes and Stephan Bisaha/NPR

PadMay Day 8: Favourite Attack of the Clones Quote

“Perhaps, with merely your presence, the mysteries surrounding this threat will be revealed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will retire.“

–Senator Amidala to Sir Kenobi and Padawan Skywalker.

This is her best quote in the movie, I feel, because it shows her sheer talent in manipulating words and commanding the moment. There are several layers of meaning here. First, she diplomatically ends a tense moment cause by Anakin and Obi-Wan’s bickering. Secondly, behind the veneer of civility, she is saying that she thinks their presence is superfluous and pointless, especially if they won’t investigate. (But, you know, maybe just your mere presence will be enough. Yep. Uh, huh.) Thirdly, and finally, she is making it absolutely clear who is in command. She excuses herself. She does not wait to be excused. She stands first. She dismisses them. They may be here at the Council’s and the Chancellor’s insistence, but she will not be pushed around; thank you very much. She’s establishing that right from the get go. She is Amidala and her authority is absolute in her domain.

Brilliant.

Imagine that Loki’s magic is highly influenced by his emotions. Imagine that, in his anger, Loki forced Odin into his Odinsleep during “Thor” with his unrestrained magical energy. He realizes it nearly immediately afterwards, and of course, hides this knowledge.

Imagine you are a healer of Asgard. Due to fears of another unexpected Odinsleep and the possible repercussions, a group of healers has been assigned to research possible involuntary triggers that could cause the Odinsleep. You are one of the healers assigned to this research group. During your investigation, you examine the vault and find residual traces of magic. Finding this odd, you investigate further and link the magic back to Loki. However, you think nothing of it. Loki is dead. What good would it do to bring more terrible news to the royal family that their deceased son may have inadvertently led to the situation that killed him? So you let it go, and forget what you found.

But after the affairs with the Dark Elves, you notice something… off about the Allfather. Something itches at the back of your mind. Something long forgotten. You decide to do your own investigation. And you come to find that whoever is parading around as Odin is not real. You find the Allfather deep in Odinsleep. And when you investigate further, you find traces of familiar magic. Horrified at your findings, you go to leave and tell someone, anyone. But you find yourself trapped as Loki blocks your exit. Flares of magic send tingles through your body as shock and anger flash across Loki’s face. You’ve made a huge mistake. And Loki will do anything to keep you quiet. Or shut you up if you don’t follow his exact instructions…

The individuals who ascribe themselves to (giving) da'wah, it is mandatory that they be investigated: Where did they study? Where did they take knowledge from? Where were they reared? What are their beliefs? Their actions must be investigated, their effects upon the people, along with what good they have brought about. What rectification has their actions produced? Their affairs must be investigated before (the people) are misled by their statements and what is apparent from them. This investigation is mandatory, especially during the present time in which the callers ot fitnah are many.
— 

Shaykh Sālih al-Fawzān (حفظه الله)

[Al-Ijaabaatul-Muhimmatu feel-Mashaakilil-Mulimmah page 34]
translated by Abū Ismāīl Muṣṭafā George

Multiple far-right news outlets are under FBI investigation for possible links to Russia

  • The FBI has launched an investigation into several right-wing news outlets, such as Breitbart, Infowars and the Russian state-sponsored RT and Sputnik, that were potentially linked to Russian efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.
  • According to McClatchy, FBI investigators are specifically looking into evidence that suggests Russia “strategically timed” bots to post pro-Trump stories on Facebook and Twitter, which included links to the far-right news sites.
  • Unsurprisingly, a source told McClatchy that many of the bots’ posts were “false or mixed fact and fiction.” Read more (3/21/17 6:30 AM)