the president said it

As a writer, you should try to give your villains plausible motivations, backstories, etc. A villain is much more interesting if they think they’re the hero of their own story.

As a DM, this is still great advice in theory but in practice you should ABSOLUTELY NEVER DO THIS because your players will discover your villains’ tragic backstory, look at their motivation and find it sound, and end up adopting the villains, going rogue from the Celestial Intervention Agency to avenge the wrongs done said villains and ensure their freedom, accidentally kidnapping the President, and plunging Gallifrey into a civil war.

independent.co.uk
Christian university rejects $3 million donation so it can keep its LGBTQ group
An American university has rejected $3m (£2.3m) funding from a Christian organisation that demanded it shut down an LGBT students' group.

Samford University, a private Christian school in Alabama, rejected a $3 million donation from a group of churches who wanted the school to shut down its newly-formed LGBTQ student group. 

Samford’s LGBTQ group, Samford Together, only formed this year. The Alabama Baptist Convention offered the sizable donation on the grounds that the school reject Samford Together. The school decided to voluntarily reject the donation and keep the LGBTQ group going. 

“I believe the action taken by our trustees is something that both parties have been anticipating for some time and will serve the best interests of both Samford and the Alabama Baptist State Convention,” said university president Andrew Westmoreland.

“Our longstanding educational and ministry relationships with Alabama Baptists have always been more significant than money, and these relationships will continue and flourish.”

Dr Westmoreland added he wanted the university to address topics related to human sexuality and "other important issues at the intersection of Christian understanding and cultural reality.”

He stopped short of offering formal recognition to Samford Together, but said the university would “work to accomplish each of the group’s worthy goal.”

It warms my heart to see a story about a religious school that does right by its LGBTQ students, even at an actual financial cost. They’re not as commonplace as they should be. 

instagram

“I can’t even say the word. Why can’t I say the word? I mean, why can’t I just say…? I mean, what is wrong? Why do I have to be so ashamed? I mean, why can’t I just say the truth? I mean, be who I am? I’m thirty-five years old, I’m so afraid to tell people…Susan, I’m gay.” – Ellen Morgan (@theellenshow) to Susan (@lauradern), “Ellen,” “The Puppy Episode,” April 30, 1997.
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On April 30, 1997, twenty years ago today and two weeks after Ellen DeGeneres publicly acknowledged her sexuality, Ellen Morgan, lead character of ABC’s “Ellen,” came out.
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After the first three seasons of “Ellen,” producers were frustrated with a lack of focus and Ellen’s lack of interest in the stereotypical sitcom relationship; one producer suggested Ellen just get a puppy to show the world that a relationship was not in the cards, hence “The Puppy Episode.”
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During the fourth season, as word of the coming out episode spread, a backlash started; a bomb threat came, DeGeneres’ safety was threatened, sponsors (including J.C. Penney and Wendy’s) pulled out, affiliates refused to run the episode, and right-wing conservatives hurled anti-gay slurs (Reverend Jerry Falwell, for example, hurled the infamous “Ellen Degenerate,” to which DeGeneres responded, “I’ve been getting that since the fourth grade”).
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And, even after “The Puppy Episode” drew forty-two million viewers and won two Emmys, a Peabody Award, and a GLAAD Media Award, ABC still prefaced each subsequent episode of "Ellen” with a parental advisory warning.
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The show was canceled after its fifth season.
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“It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far,” President Barack Obama said when awarding DeGeneres the Presidential Medal of Freedom, “just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out…What an incredible burden that was to bear. To risk your career like that. People don’t do that very often.”
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There is no question that Ellen Morgan’s self-declaration marked a paradigm shift for queer representation in media. Never again would it be impossible to imagine a gay lead character, nor a supporting character that defied rigid stereotypes, in mainstream media. #lgbthistory #HavePrideInHistory #ThankYouEllen

Made with Instagram
'Sense8' Canceled at Netflix

Netflix has canceled Sense8 after two seasons. [x]

The streaming service confirmed on Thursday that it would not be moving forward with the sci-fi drama from The Wachowskis. “After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8cluster is coming to an end,“ said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president of original content.

"It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable,” she continued. “Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant for their vision, and the entire cast and crew for their craftsmanship and commitment.”

The decision to not order additional seasons of Sense8, which first debuted in 2015, comes a week after the streaming giant canceled The Get Down, its ambitious music drama from Baz Luhrmann, after only one season. The moves mark rare ones for the streamer, which has renewed the vast majority of its slate as part of an aggressive push into scripted originals. Other Netflix series to be canceled include Marco Polo, Lilyhammer, Hemlock Grove, Bloodline and A&E pickup Longmire.

Rumors of Sense8’s uncertain future loomed in the days before the announcement. Castmember Brian J. Smith helped get a #RenewSense8 hashtag trending on Twitter in an effort to keep the show alive.

8

BIG’s LEGO House Makes Its Grand Debut in Denmark

The BIG-designed, 12,000-square-meter LEGO visitor experience center known as the ‘LEGO House’ has officially opened to the public, inviting people of all ages to learn more about the ubiquitous plastic brick and practice their creativity and problem-solving skills through play.

“It has been a dream for me for many years to create a place that will give our visitors the ultimate LEGO experience. With LEGO House, we celebrate creativity and the strength of learning through play. When they play, children learn the basic skills that they need, such as creativity, collaboration and problem-solving abilities,” said former president and CEO of LEGO, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.

bzfd.it
Donald Trump Has Been Blocked From Visiting Parliament Because Of His "Racism"
"An address by a foreign leader to both houses of parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honour," John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, announced.
By Jim Waterson

Donald Trump should not be given the honour of addressing both houses of parliament on his state visit to Britain later this year because of his “sexism” and “racism”, the speaker of the House of Commons announced on Monday in an extraordinary intervention that drew applause from MPs.

John Bercow, who was a Conservative MP before he becoming the politically neutral presiding officer, said said he would personally block any attempt to allow Trump to address both houses of parliament in the medieval Westminster Hall, an honour given to Barack Obama in 2011.

In a rare break with convention, Bercow declared in no uncertain terms his opposition to the state visit.

“We value our relationship with the United States,” Bercow said in response to a point of order from Labour MP Stephen Doughty. “If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond beyond and above the pay grade of the speaker.

“However, as far as this place [the House of Commons] is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.

Continue reading.

cnn.com
WH official: We'll say 'fake news' until media realizes attitude of attacking the President is wrong
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said Monday that the administration will continue using the term "fake news" until the media understands that their "monumental desire" to attack the President is wrong.
By Chris Massie, CNN

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said Monday that the administration will continue using the term “fake news” until the media understands that their “monumental desire” to attack the President is wrong.

“There is a monumental desire on behalf of the majority of the media, not just the pollsters, the majority of the media to attack a duly elected President in the second week of his term,” Gorka, a former Breitbart editor who also holds a PhD in political science, told syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved.  “That’s how unhealthy the situation is and until the media understands how wrong that attitude is, and how it hurts their credibility, we are going to continue to say, ‘fake news.'  I’m sorry, Michael.  That’s the reality,” he added.

Trump and his staff have repeatedly used the term “fake news” to discredit reporting on the presidential administration from mainstream outlets such as CNN and The New York Times, often offering no evidence to back up their disputes with those outlets’ stories.

Earlier in the interview, Gorka was asked by Medved whether he would acknowledge that the administration’s controversial statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day was “at least questionable in being the first such statement in many years that didn’t recognize that Jewish extermination was the chief goal of the Holocaust.”

Gorka replied by calling criticism of the statement “asinine,” arguing that it was motivated by the media’s desire to attack Trump.

“It’s a Holocaust remembrance statement,” Gorka said.  “No, I’m not going to admit it.  Because it’s asinine.  It’s absurd.  You’re making a statement about the Holocaust.  Of course it’s about the Holocaust because that’s what the statement’s about.  It’s only reasonable to twist it if your objective is to attack the President.”

Gorka also sparred with a caller who contended that “every time you call everything fake news, it just turns everyone except your hardcore fans off.”

“Not everything’s fake news,” the caller added.

“You know, I would beg to differ,” Gorka shot back.  “Every single organ that generates these kinds of stories comes from the same clique of media organs that predicted that Hillary (Clinton) would win and that Brexit wouldn’t occur.  I know what fake news is.  And it’s coming from those organizations. It’s time that you yourself understood that as well." 

So the Trump Administration outright says they’ll continue to de-legitimize the media until they toe the line and stop "attacking” (i.e. disagreeing with, or presenting facts that disagree with) the President and his agenda.

THIS IS NOT NORMAL!

theguardian.com
Sami people persuade Norway pension fund to divest from Dakota Access
The Sami parliament, representing indigenous people also known as Lapps, has convinced Norway’s second largest pension fund to ditch the oil pipeline project

In an act of international solidarity between indigenous peoples, the Sami parliament in Norway has persuaded the country’s second largest pension fund to withdraw its money from companies linked to a controversial oil project backed by Donald Trump.

The project to build the 1,900km Dakota Access oil pipeline across six US states has prompted massive protests from Native American activists at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

This week, after lobbying by the Sami parliament, Norway’s local authority pension fund KLP announced it would sell of shares worth $58m in companies building the pipeline.

Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami parliament, said the pension fund announced the move when she arrived at a meeting in Oslo to discuss Dakota Access.

“We feel a strong solidarity with other indigenous people in other parts of the world, so we are doing our part in Norway by putting pressure on the pension funds,” she told the Guardian.

The Sami – sometimes called Lapps in English – are an indigenous people living in the Arctic area of Sápmi in the far north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola peninsula.

Continue Reading.

How The Younglings Sticked It To Palpatine

So, I just got a pretty weird idea about a fic I’m never going to write. Though, I present the prompt to your collective insanity to crackify it even more. 

@forcearama @albaparthenicevelut @lurkingcrow @resistancepilots @tygermama @asokatanos 


Imagine Knight Anakin Skywalker who was put on probation (something about blowing up a building, Obi-Wan, making things go boom is a legitimate strategy!). A part of his punishment is to teach a few lessons in the Créche. Anakin awaited a horribly booooring afternoon with a bunch of kiddies.

Well, it showed up that the lessons were on galactic politics and kid version about “Why the hell do we even fight a war.”

The thing is, that the only way Anakin knew anything about the legal side of politics was Obi-Wan’s unorthodox style of teaching via presenting his Padawan with completely surreal situations which he had had to analyse with laws.

Surreal situations such as seceding the Republic.

“Imagine, kids, that you really, really don’t like a thing. Like tubers for lunch.”

“Ew!”

“Tubers, yuck!”

“We hate tubers!”

“We want ice-cream.”

“But they won’t give us any.”

“Exactly. Now, your caretakers won’t do anything about it despite your protests. So, you declare that you don’t find their authority beneficial anymore, and you write it down. That means that you don’t have to listen to them anymore, and you can do whatever you want. Well, at least what is legal in your new state.”

“How do you write the paper?”

“Well, everything that you need to know is in the Planetary Membership Act.” Anakin was proud he remembered the exact law. A couple of younglings rushed to the datapads. Aw, youth! Look at their enthusiastic lil’ faces!

When he came back the next day with Ahsoka for another lesson, the younglings surprised him when they locked the door behind. And barricaded it with the furniture.

He looked around the tiny forms, all of them beaming with self-satisfactory smiles. One of them, a little Twi’lek girl beamed with pride when she stepped to him, a piece of flimsy in her hands.

“Oh, no….” Ahsoka sighed. Anakin had no idea what was going on.

“Yes, little one?”

“We have declared a new state!” the girl said, handing him the flimsy. “Welcome to Créchestan, President Skywalker!”

“What the…” He eyed the flimsy. Oh force. Oh force.

“Well… At least you know how to write legally binding documents, don’t you,” he gulped.

Obi-Wan’s going to kill me.

Public discussion of periods is still a taboo in many parts of the world. But this week in India, everybody’s talking about the topic.

The reason: an announcement by a Mumbai media firm called Culture Machine: The company has announced that its 75 women employees could take the first day of their period as a paid day off if they experience pain or discomfort. Some reactions have been supportive — and some not.

The rationale at Culture Machine: to reduce the stigma around menstruation as well as make it easier for women to catch a break if they’re coping with period pain. Devleena Majumder, president of human resources at the company, said the new policy was formulated after a conversation she had with her team about three weeks ago, over evening coffee. The women were saying how difficult it was to commute to work by public transport on the first day of their period, but they didn’t want to use their sick leave to stay home. As the company explained in an press release, they decided that giving woman time off to “keep up with their natural biological cycle” would “empower them to be their "prime selves.”

Company In India Gives Women A Day Off If Their Period Is Painful

Illustration: Hanna Barczyk for NPR

6-Month Update for Trump Voters

So after six months, has he delivered what he promised you?

1. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” You bought it. But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 22 million off health insurance, including many of you.)

2. He told you he’d cut your taxes. You bought it. But tax “reform” is stalled. And if it ever moves, the only ones whose taxes will be cut are the wealthy.

3. He told you he’d invest $1 trillion in our nation’ crumbling infrastructure. You bought it. But his infrastructure plan, which was really a giveaway to rich investors, is also stalled.

4. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, along with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

5. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. But he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge.

6. He said he’d close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers.“ You bought it. But he picked a Wall Street financier Stephen Schwarzman to run his strategic and policy forum, who compares closing those loopholes to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

7. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. You bought it. But now the White House says that promise is “inoperative.”

8. He said that on Day One he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” You bought it. But then he met with China’s president and declared "China is not a currency manipulator.”

9. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. But then he bombed Syria.

10. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done. You bought it. But in his first 6 months he has spent more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama did in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.

11. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America. You believed him. But despite their promises, Carrier, Ford, GM, and the rest are shipping jobs to Mexico and China.

12. He said he’d create coal jobs. You believe him. He hasn’t. But here’s what he has done: Since 1965 a federal program called the Appalachian Regional Commission has spent $23 billion helping communities in coal states fund job retraining, reclaim land, and provide desperately needed social services. A.R.C. helped cut poverty rates almost in half, double the percentage of high-school graduates, and reduce infant mortality by two-thirds. Trump’s first proposed budget eliminates A.R.C.