Tracy Millosovich—Crystal Dreams (The Dreams Series) (Volume 1)

Hey Everyone,

This is Ellen—Executive Producer/Co-host to Brian Hammer Jackson—the baddest-ass shock-jock on blogtalk radio!!!! We are looking forward to talking with YA romance/fantasy author, Tracy Millosovich, on Friday March 23, 2018. I can’t wait to hear about her Crystal Dreams series, and check them out for myself.

When greedy humans ascend the alien Tartan planet to steal their resources, the magical inhabitants of the new world are no pushovers. When the magically powerful Queen of Tartan dies protecting her people, her King decides he needs her back from the dead, and killing her  reincarnation, a human girl named Crystal, will be easy. Humans are hated due to their hateful greed so when Crystal is recruited to fight at the King’s side, she’s about to learn more than she bargained for. With a war and bloodshed coming fast, and the broken heart of a warrior King willing to kill for his plans at her back, will  Crystal really survive long enough to find out why her human race has become bloodthirsty demons, and why the inhabitants of Tartan despise her? In this planetary war, whose side are you on?

Daniels’ lawyer says some alleged incidents took place during Trump presidency

Stormy Daniels Violated Confidentiality Agreement at Least 20 Times

President Trump, weighing in directly on the Stephanie Clifford case for the first time, claimed in court papers filed by his lawyers on Friday that the porn actress who alleges she had an affair with him violated a confidentiality agreement at least 20 times, exposing her to damages of at least $20 million.

President Trump’s lawyers filed two motions on Friday in United States District Court in California in a public legal fight that Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, started last week. That’s when she sued to get out of an agreement that she had struck to be paid $130,000 to stay silent about an affair she alleges to have had with Mr. Trump starting in 2006.

Mr. Trump formally joined his legal team’s response to Ms. Clifford’s suit in a motion, filed Friday, to move the case from state court in Los Angeles, where Ms. Clifford filed her claim, to federal court.

Mr. Trump’s reason for asking that the case be moved probably concerns the Federal Arbitration Act, which makes arbitration the preferred forum for resolving many kinds of disputes. Federal courts have applied that law more strictly than state courts, particularly ones in California. Mr. Trump may be hoping that his chances of keeping the dispute in arbitration and out of public view are better before a federal judge than a state one.

Until now, Mr. Trump had kept his distance from the legal wrangling, leaving it to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to take the lead in refuting Ms. Clifford’s claims. And the White House has refused to say how involved Mr. Trump had even been in the initial agreement with Ms. Clifford, signed in October 2016.

When Mr. Cohen brought a temporary restraining order seeking to silence Ms. Clifford in late February, he did so on behalf of a shell company he used to pay her through, not on behalf of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump’s name surfaced in one of two motions his legal team filed Friday in Los Angeles. One, in the name of the shell company, Essential Consultants, sought to move the suit to federal court from Los Angeles Superior Court, where Ms. Clifford filed the suit.

The second motion, filed on Mr. Trump’s behalf, states that he joins Essential Consultants in seeking the change of venue and ends with the statement, “Mr. Trump intends to pursue his rights to the fullest extent permitted by the law.”

Representing Mr. Trump in his case was a new lawyer, Charles Harder, who is best known for bringing the Hulk Hogan sex tape case that effectively put the gossip news site Gawker out of business roughly two years ago. Mr. Harder previously represented Melania Trump in a case against The Daily Mail.

Mr. Trump’s team filed the motions one day after news broke that “60 Minutes” was planning to run a segment featuring Ms. Clifford and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, on March 25. Mr. Trump’s representatives have denied the allegations that he had an affair with Ms. Clifford.

Mr. Avenatti responded late Friday that the president was engaging in “bullying tactics” aimed at moving the case “behind closed doors, outside of public view and scrutiny.”

He seized on the monetary damages the president’s team indicated it was seeking. “The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus damages against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is truly remarkable — likely unprecedented in our history,” Mr. Avenatti said. He added, “We are not going away and we will not be intimidated by these threats.”

The news and stories that matter to Californians (and anyone else interested in the state), delivered weekday mornings.
You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times’s products and services.

Ms. Daniels and her lawyer have drawn a steady stream of intense news coverage since she filed her suit. Mr. Avenatti has appeared regularly on television to reveal new details about the effort to keep Ms. Clifford quiet during the presidential campaign, which culminated in the deal for her silence in October 2016.

On Friday, for instance, Mr. Avenatti said on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe’’ that Ms. Clifford had been threatened with physical harm to stay silent about her story, though he did not say by whom or when. Speaking on “New Day” on CNN, he said she would provide details on “60 Minutes,” saying, “She’s going to be able to provide very specific details about what happened here.”

A day earlier, Mr. Avenatti said that other women alleging involvement with Mr. Trump had approached his office, later adding that two of those women said they had signed nondisclosure agreements to maintain their silence. He said, however, that he had not vetted their claims.

Asked about Mr. Avenatti’s allegation relating to threats on Friday, the president’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said she had “no knowledge” about it, but “obviously we take the safety and security of any person seriously.”

This week Mr. Avenatti revealed that Mr. Cohen had received help from a Trump Organization lawyer in initially seeking the restraining order against Ms. Clifford. That lawyer said she was working in a personal capacity and not on the company’s behalf.

Ms. Clifford had told inTouch that her affair with Mr. Trump lasted several months. Her case came back into public view in October 2016, as she became concerned that the $130,000 she was promised would not come through.

Mr. Cohen told The New York Times this year that he paid Ms. Clifford out of his own pocket, after The Wall Street Journal reported that she was paid through the shell company he created in Delaware.

That payment is the subject of criticism from the watchdog group Common Cause, which filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice alleging it violated campaign finance rules.

Ms. Clifford’s initial deal has struck legal experts for its onerous terms, including its provision that she would be responsible for “liquidated damages” of $1 million for each breach of the agreement.

In its motion, Mr. Trump’s legal team indicates that it considers her liable for $20 million, for 20 breaches it did not detail.

In bringing Mr. Trump directly into the suit, Mr. Harder appeared to be seeking to answer a key challenge from Mr. Avenatti that in failing to sign the original deal, Mr. Trump was not bound by it. The new motion makes clear that Mr. Trump now fully considers himself a party to it.

Former CIA chief to Trump on McCabe firing: ‘America will triumph over you’

Former CIA chief to Trump on McCabe firing: ‘America will triumph over you’

Washington (CNN)Former CIA Director John Brennan responded Saturday to President Donald Trump’s tweet about the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, calling the President “a disgraced demagogue.”
“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America … America will triumph over you,” Brennan, who was CIA head under President Barack Obama, tweeted. John O. Brennan


When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you. …
5:00 AM – Mar 17, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe on Friday, just days before he was set to receive his pension after rising through the ranks and eventually becoming the No. 2 at the bureau.
Trump tweeted early Saturday morning about the firing, saying the axing made it “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI.”

“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” he wrote.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to Dowd’s remarks in a statement on Saturday.
“Mr. Dowd’s comments are yet another indication that the first instinct of the President and his legal team is not to cooperate with special counsel Mueller, but to undermine him at every turn,” the New York Democrat said in the statement.
“The President, the administration, and his legal team must not take any steps to curtail, interfere with, or end the special counsel’s investigation or there will be severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans.”
Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also responded to the news in a tweet. Mark Warner


Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now. …
7:52 AM – Mar 17, 2018

Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa Trump are divorcing

Money can’t buy happiness

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa Trump are separating, they announced in a joint statement Thursday.

The Amazing Erotic Thriller Blood Diamond On Sale Now.
“After 12 years of marriage, we have decided to go our separate ways,” the statement said. “We will always have tremendous respect for each other and our families. We have five beautiful children together and they remain our top priority. We ask for your privacy during this time.”
The New York Post’s Page Six and the New York Daily News reported earlier Thursday that President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law had filed for divorce in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
The White House declined to comment on the reports and referred questions to the Trump Organization.

The two met in 2003 when Donald Trump introduced them at a fashion show, and were married in 2005, The New York Times reported in 2006.
Though she primarily remains out of the public eye, Vanessa Trump was recently in the news when she opened a letter containing a suspicious substance last month, which the New York Police Department ultimately deemed harmless.

Blood Diamond-Black Grace – Book One

Be careful what you wish for…
Damien Black. A self-made man. Owner and CEO of Black Enterprises, LLC. Purveyor of rare goods. Exhausted from extensive travel to secure a shipment of rare Blood Diamonds.

Be careful what you wish for…

Damien Black. A self-made man. Owner and CEO of Black Enterprises, LLC. Purveyor of rare goods. Exhausted from extensive travel to secure a shipment of rare Blood Diamonds.

His life was rich. Full of everything he could possibly want. From his collection of luxury cars to dominating beautiful women, his tastes were singular. He was the darkness, in every sense of the word.

His world was about to be turned upside-down.

Abigal Grace. By all appearances a lady of refinement. A quiet librarian who never needs to raise her voice to get attention. An intellectual who never left college. It’s a mystery how many Doctorate degrees she has. Her complexion so fair, it appears she’s never seen sunlight.

But this quiet beauty has other secrets.

Two people from different worlds, caught in each other’s cross-hairs. So polar opposite they are drawn to each other, yet so alike in many ways that could tear them apart.

Huge study finds that companies with more women leaders are more profitable


Advocates for gender parity like to argue that equality is not just about fairness, but also about better business results.

New data from the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY bolsters that case. The groups analyzed results from 21,980 global, publicly traded companies, in 91 countries from various industries and sectors and showed that having at least 30% of women in leadership positions, or the “C-suite,” adds 6% to net profit margin.

“The evidence on women in the C-suite is robust: no matter how we torture the data we get the same result: women in the C-suite are associated with higher profitability,” Marcus Noland, director of studies at the Peterson Institute, told Quartz in an email.

Michelle has a sweet secret she’s longing to tell her boyfriend, Scott. But before she can tell him he breaks her heart in the worst way imaginable. Crushed, she leaves the restaurant on foot not telling him a thing. She resolves that she doesn’t need him and takes steps to remove every trace of him from her life.

The study looked at women in three positions: CEO, board members, and members of the C-suite. It found female CEOs do not systematically outperform their male counterparts. While there is some evidence that female board members are associated with greater profitability, the results are not statistically significant. But the C-suite results were clear: more women translated to higher profits. And Noland argues that having more women on boards is associated with having more women in leadership, otherwise known as the “pipeline effect.”

Laura D’Andrea Tyson, an economics and business professor at the Haas School at the University of Berkeley, told a panel at the 2016 World Economic Forum that the gender parity debate is wrongly focused on fairness. Women, she argued, improve innovation and complex decision-making. “We have failed to make the business case,” she said.

This study may help.

Its critical weakness is that it is one snapshot in time, 2014, and not longitudinal. But it reveals there’s more than enough room for improvement in getting to parity:

60% of companies had no female board members (13,017 firms)
Just over 50% had no female leaders (“C-suite”) (11,802 firms)
4.5% had female CEOs
3.8% of board chairs are female

Having women leaders happened in companies which were bigger, in countries where women did well on math assessments vis a vis their male counterparts, and where there was a relative absence of discriminatory attitudes.

Surprisingly, countries that provide mandated maternity leave do not have more female leaders. But those with more paternity leave do.

“It stands to reason that policies that allow for child care need to be met, but do not place the burden of this care explicitly on the woman, can allow women to have a greater chance of building business acumen and professional contacts necessary to advance to a level at which they would be invited to be part of a corporate board,” the study said.

Another discovery that will fuel policy discussions: quotas to mandate female representation on boards do not reduce, or improve, corporate performance. The study dispels the argument that quotas will lead to the same women sitting on the same boards (the “golden skirt” effect). Women who sit on multiple boards are no more common than men: 13% of male directors sit on two boards compared to 12% of women; 3% of each sit on three boards; and less than 1% of each gender sit on more than four boards.

“Golden pants” are as prevalent as “golden skirts,” which could be interpreted as one measure of parity that we’ve accomplished.

Trump decries immigrants from ‘shithole countries’ coming to US

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump expressed frustration behind closed doors with people coming to the US from “shithole countries,” sources told CNN on Thursday.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump expressed frustration behind closed doors with people coming to the US from “shithole countries,” sources told CNN on Thursday.
One of the sources briefed on the Thursday Oval Office meeting with lawmakers confirmed Trump asked, “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”
Trump, in vulgar terms, rejects bipartisan immigration proposal at White House meeting
A person familiar with the meeting said Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham brought a plan to Trump that involved cutting the visa lottery in half and, at the behest of the Congressional Black Caucus, the rest would go to underrepresented countries in Africa and Temporary Protective Status nations, including Haiti. The person said the language was salty on both sides.

One person briefed on the meeting said when Durbin got to Haiti, Trump began to ask why we want people from Haiti and more Africans in the US and added that the US should get more people from countries like Norway.
A person familiar with what was said at the meeting told CNN that Trump also said: “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”
Lawmakers condemn Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark
Lawmakers condemn Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark
Trump was taping a message in the State Dining Room on Thursday afternoon for Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the story was breaking, an official said. Another official said Trump expressed to aides within the hour that the media was blowing his comment of proportion.
The Washington Post first reported on Trump’s comments in the Oval Office meeting, which the Post said “shocked” lawmakers in attendance.
Reached for comment about the article, White House spokesperson Raj Shah did not deny the “shithole” remark, but instead said in a statement that Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment is his new rock bottom
Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment is his new rock bottom
One of the sources told CNN that White House adviser Stephen Miller was at the meeting, and White House chief of staff John Kelly attended part but probably not all of the meeting.
The Trump administration late last year announced it would end the TPS designation for Haiti, a move that could affect tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants. Likewise, the Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced it would end protections more than 200,000 Salvadorans, and on Thursday the White House rejected a bipartisan immigration proposal, including a fix for people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
John Kelly leading White House’s immigration effort in congressional negotiations
John Kelly leading White House’s immigration effort in congressional negotiations
A White House official told CNN the President’s “shithole” remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside. The official said that although this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment would resonate with Trump’s base, similarly to how Trump’s attacks on NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem did.
Neal Katyal, a lead lawyer challenging Trump’s attempts to impose a travel ban on mostly Muslim nations, has argued the travel ban reveals a discriminatory intent on the President’s part, and responded to news of Trump’s comment in light of the ongoing legal battle.

Saving Abel Addicted is now on sale.

“As I put the finishing touches on the travel ban brief to the Supreme Court tonight, the President’s words remind us again of how his un-American racist ideology impacts policy,” Katyal said.
The White House denied similarly derogatory remarks in December, when The New York Times reported Trump said during a meeting in June that people coming from Haiti “all have AIDS,” that recent Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa and that Afghanistan is a terrorist haven.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denied at the time that Trump had made the comments and cited denials from several of the meeting’s attendees.

CNN’s Pamela Brown, Lauren Fox, Jeff Zeleny, Kaitlin Collins and Ariane De Vogue contributed to this report.

Jeff Sessions’ marijuana move will backfire

Sessions just made the opioid war harder to win
(CNN)Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he is rescinding the Cole memo, which reflected the Department of Justice’s relatively passive policy under the Obama administration since August 2013 on enforcement of federal cannabis laws.
If Sessions intended to quell the enthusiasm of California’s cannabis business enthusiasts and government officials, he once again fell short.
Michael Chernis
Unlike announcements from the DOJ in past years threatening to ramp up federal enforcement of the cannabis laws, this announcement was met with little more than a yawn by cannabis businesses.
The harshest reaction came from local and state government officials — in California and in other states — who insisted that they were disappointed, concerned, and surprised by Sessions’ move.

Now, unlike in prior years, government officials in California and elsewhere are totally aligned with cannabis businesses in resisting the federal government’s threats.
In fact, the landscape has shifted so dramatically in recent years that some of the harshest critics of Sessions were senators and representatives, many of them prominent Republicans, from states with cannabis programs that generate much-needed medicine and tax revenue. They expressed outrage over this action by Sessions, claiming it belies promises he made to them before being confirmed by the Senate.
Sessions just made the opioid war harder to win
Sessions just made the opioid war harder to win
As a result, Sessions has alienated many in Congress, where he can ill afford to lose any friends. Given his recusal — apparently against President Donald Trump’s wishes — from the Russia collusion investigation, he seems to be in a vulnerable spot with the President. Trump has said that he still stands with Sessions. But the attorney general still faces allegations from Democrats, who say that he perjured himself during last year’s confirmation hearings.
Without protection from Republican allies in the Senate, Sessions’ next appearance on Capitol Hill could be bloody. Cannabis might be the issue that undermines Sessions’ already shaky support.
Apart from Sessions’ announcement being unpopular, it really doesn’t have any teeth. The medical and legal cannabis industry has grown so big that it would be impossible to make a dent in it — let alone stamp it out through federal enforcement.
Moreover, Sessions did not actually announce that there would be a crackdown on cannabis businesses, but rather that it would be left to the discretion of the local US attorneys in the various districts to decide how and when to enforce the federal laws. This does not amount to much of a substantive change in policy, which begs the question of why Sessions bothered to make the announcement at all.
The Obama administration’s policy essentially left it to the individual states to regulate its respective cannabis industries provided those businesses did not engage in activities that threatened federal priorities, like serving as a cover for other illegal activity or violence.
GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal

GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal 01:29
Under the Cole memo, in the past four-plus years, the already robust medical cannabis industry continued to evolve with more than half the states now allowing some form of medical cannabis use and commercial activity, and now eight states including California, Colorado, Washington and Nevada permitting recreational or adult use of recreational cannabis.
Based on conversations I’ve had with federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, there does not appear to be much of an appetite on the part of federal prosecutors to go after cannabis. And if they do, at the moment their hands are tied, at least when it comes to medical cannabis. Since 2014, the federal budget has prohibited the DOJ from using federal funds to prosecute medical cannabis businesses pursuant to a budget rider championed by US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a Republican who considers Sessions a “longtime friend.”
The Sessions’ announcement was likely timed to create anxiety in California, only days after it began issuing permits for both medical and recreational cannabis businesses. California and its attorney general have been somewhat of a thorn in the side of the Trump administration, filing a number of lawsuits challenging various policies, and perhaps most significantly, allowing so-called “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants.

Although the spotlight seems to be on California, Colorado — a swing state — with a population that is dwarfed by California, has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue from its legalization of cannabis.
It would be wise for Sessions to remember that cannabis businesses exist in red and purple states, too. Its investors include prominent Trump supporters like Todd Mitchem. Any real enforcement efforts would alienate this administration’s base and be a political risk.
For all of these reasons, there isn’t much bark to Sessions’ bite. And in fact, it could precipitate a legal battle with California and other states — possibly overturning the authority of the federal government to even regulate legal cannabis businesses, an issue that has yet to be decided by the Supreme Court. That would be the ultimate irony to Sessions’ move and an appropriate epitaph on his fight against cannabis.

Can a Convicted Felon Run for Office in Texas?

“Children whose fathers are locked up, they need to see somebody like me on City Council,” said Conway.

Can a Convicted Felon Run for Office in Texas? Lewis Conway Jr. Intends to Find Out.
“Children whose fathers are locked up, they need to see somebody like me on City Council,” said Conway.
Lewis Conway Jr.
Lewis Conway Jr. courtesy/Facebook

Last spring, Lewis Conway Jr., a 47-year-old community organizer, began planning a campaign for Austin City Council like most candidates do. He gathered friends and asked for their support. He considered his fundraising prospects. No stranger to City Council, Conway had fought for Austin’s 2016 Fair Chance Hiring ordinance, which prohibits many employers from considering criminal backgrounds before making a job offer. Conway, who calls himself a democratic socialist, drafted a platform of aggressively building out public housing, giving tax breaks to poor folks in gentrifying East Austin and expanding indigent healthcare and public transportation.

But as he began informally campaigning, Conway ran into a snag: In 1993, he was convicted of felony voluntary manslaughter for fatally stabbing a man during a dispute at an East Austin apartment, a crime for which he served around eight years in Texas state prisons and 12 years on parole. Finishing his parole restored his voting rights, which he thought also cleared his path to run — until a city memo revealed in December that Texas law may not be so forgiving.

Convicted felons can generally hold federal office, but state laws form what a federal report called “a national crazy-quilt of disqualifications and restoration procedures.” Conway’s candidacy is in limbo because local and state officials say they’ve never dealt with the issue: As far as they know, no convicted felon has ever tried to run for state or local office in Texas. Officials seem sure that the right to vote does not automatically restore the right to candidacy and Conway needs either a pardon from the governor (unlikely) or some kind of ruling from a state judge. But they don’t know what sort of judicial order would suffice, and an opponent might still successfully challenge whatever he does get from the court.

“We don’t have any concrete examples to go off of,” said Sam Taylor, spokesperson for the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. Taylor said a ruling called a “declaration of actual innocence” might work, but he couldn’t be sure.

That leaves Conway trying to campaign and fund raise without the ability to promise volunteers and donors that he’ll be on the ballot in November. The doubts about his candidacy are public, but he might not be able to resolve them for months to come. He can’t file his candidacy until July 21, so he can’t deal with potential challenges until then.

“I’m having to run a legal campaign and a political campaign at the same time,” said Conway, who is a criminal justice organizer at Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based group that fights private prisons. “It’s a civil rights issue; I’m being denied access to a public job based on my background.” Conway added that he fears perjuring himself if he applies for a spot on the ballot without being positive he qualifies.
Lewis Conway Jr. campaigning in Austin courtesy/Facebook

The issue, according to Conway’s attorney, Ricco Garcia, stems from a 1985 state statute that he calls “extremely vague.” The law disqualifies felons from public office unless they’ve received a pardon or been “otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.” Garcia said he doesn’t know which “disabilities” are relevant: Felons, for example, are prohibited from owning firearms or holding many professional licenses. Garcia speculates that perhaps Conway could become eligible to run if a judge restored his right to serve as a juror, but he’s not sure, and the state has been of little help. “You’d think it would be pretty cut and dry,” said Taylor. “But this ‘release from disabilities’ thing, I think it needs to be clarified.”

It’s possible, said Garcia, that a legal battle over Conway’s candidacy could clear the path for others in the same situation. “This is the stuff that a lot of large cases come from … a lot of litigation that’s appealed to higher bodies like the Supreme Court,” said Garcia, who said he’s working pro bono and looking for other attorneys to help.

Garcia said he’ll also ask the governor for a pardon, though Texas’ tough-on-crime conservative governors typically reserve their pardons for folks who committed minor crimes — unlike Conway.
“I believe in second chances. He served his time,” Conway’s would-be opponent said.

In August 1991, a 21-year-old Conway was charged with fatally stabbing another 21-year-old man in Austin. Conway, who later pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, says the other man stole drugs and money from him, and when Conway confronted him, the man pulled a gun; Conway says he stabbed him in self-defense. Conway then bounced around Texas state prisons until August 10, 2000, according to state records.

When he was released, Conway found a very limited sort of freedom. “You get out here in the world and you realize you’ve been convicted of a violent crime, and you’re big and you’re black,” he said. “Even McDonald’s wouldn’t hire me.”

Conway, who was born in Abilene but has lived in Austin since he was 5, did graveyard shifts at Walmart, directed music videos under the name “Louie Fattz,” wrote a self-help book and was eventually hired by Grassroots Leadership as a community organizer. This legislative session, Conway successfully lobbied against bills that would have overturned Austin’s Fair Chance Hiring policy, which had been the first such measure to pass in the South.

Conway is running for Austin’s District 1, a historically black part of the city that’s represented by Ora Houston, a veteran African-American community activist. Conway says he’s modeling his campaign on that of Chokwe Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi who’s vowed to make his Southern town “the most radical city on the planet.”

Beyond policy, Conway sees his campaign as important for formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones: “Children whose fathers are locked up, they need to see somebody like me on City Council so they can say: ‘I know where he come from; I know him in these streets. But I’ve also seen him at City Hall, at the Capitol.’”

For her part, Houston, Conway’s would-be opponent, said she thinks he deserves a shot. “I believe in second chances,” Houston said. “He served his time.”

The end of net neutrality: What it all means

The fight for the future of the internet just came to a head.

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections. The repeal passed along a party-line vote.

Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman appointed by President Trump, has framed the repeal as getting the government to “stop micromanaging the internet.”

The move is supported by the telecom industry, which claims existing regulations threaten to hamper broadband investments and innovation.

Technology companies and consumer advocacy groups have loudly protested the repeal effort for months, both online and offline, arguing it could spell the end of the internet as we know it.

Here’s what it all means and what’s really at stake.

What exactly is net neutrality?

The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair.

Under the rules, internet service providers are required to treat all online content the same. They can’t deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor can they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

To take a classic example, this means Comcast can’t just choose to slow down a service like Netflix (NFLX) to make its own streaming video service more competitive, nor can it try to squeeze Netflix to pay more money to be part of a so-called internet fast lane.

As Michael Cheah, general counsel at video site Vimeo, previously told CNNMoney: the point of the rules is “allowing consumers to pick the winners and losers and not [having] the cable companies make those decisions for them.”

Why is net neutrality such a big deal?

If there’s one thing that both sides can agree on, it’s that the internet is increasingly central to our lives. Any change to how it’s regulated is a hot button issue. (Remember the uproar over repealing internet privacy protections earlier this year?)

“Everyone uses the internet and everyone uses these tech platforms,” Michelle Connolly, a former FCC official who supports Pai, previously told CNNMoney. “So issues that are coming up right now, people are seeing from a very personal perspective.”

So how will internet providers be regulated if net neutrality is repealed?

The FCC is doing away with rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content. The FCC would also eliminate a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content.

In the absence of a firm ban on these actions, providers will be required to publicly disclose any instance of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization. It will then be evaluated based on whether or not the activity is anti-competitive.

Related: Trump administration sends mixed messages on big media

As part of this shift, oversight of internet protections will shift from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission.

Maureen K. Ohlhausen, the acting head of the FTC, said in a statement Monday that the agency is “committed to ensuring that Internet service providers live up to the promises they make to consumers.”

But consumer advocacy groups are less than optimistic.

“Not only is the FCC eliminating basic net neutrality rules, but it’s joining forces with the FTC to say it will only act when a broadband provider is deceiving the public,” Chris Lewis, VP at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit that focuses on the open internet, said in a statement this week. “This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it.”

And how will repealing net neutrality affect me?

First, it’s important to say what won’t happen: Billion-dollar services like Netflix are not going to disappear overnight without net neutrality. They have large enough audiences and bank accounts to survive in a changing regulatory landscape.

Instead, net neutrality advocates worry how repeal will impact the next Netflix. Upstart companies may struggle to strike deals with providers and pay up to have their content delivered faster. That could fundamentally alter the future internet landscape.

The repeal could change how customers are billed for services, both for good and bad. T-Mobile, for example, was criticized by net neutrality supporters for effectively making it cheaper for customers to stream videos from Netflix and HBO, putting other video services at a disadvantage.

Without net neutrality, internet providers may pursue similar offers more aggressively, which would likely be viewed as a positive by consumers looking to save money on their streaming media.

Yet, some fear it’s also possible internet providers will one day begin charging customers more to access services like Netflix that are currently included as part of your monthly bill.

So is this a done deal?

Not quite. It’s very like this issue could end up being decided in court, or perhaps even by legislation in Congress.

“Whenever we do anything big and major, people go to court,” a senior FCC official said last month. “I certainly would not rule that out.”

Omarosa Manigault speaks out about WH exit: ‘I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable’

Former reality-TV star turned White House staffer Omarosa Manigault today tried to set the record straight on her reportedly dramatic exit from the White House Tuesday, and alluded to situations in the White House “that have made me uncomfortable.”

“[Chief of Staff] John Kelly and I had a very straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I raised and, as a result, I resigned,” Manigault said on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”

There “were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with,” she said.

“But when I have my story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House; as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people. And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear,” Manigault added.

She and Kelly had a “candid conversation” in the White House Situation Room, Manigault said.

Trump adviser Omarosa Manigault resigning, White House says

Omarosa Manigault on voter fraud, Women’s March and more

Omarosa Manigault says she received death threats, friends stopped talking to her for supporting Trump

White House sources have told ABC News she was fired and escorted off the White House grounds. But Manigault today denied she was fired and escorted off the premises by the U.S. Secret Service.

The agency also denied on Twitter Wednesday that personnel physically removed Manigault from the complex.

Manigault did, however, confirm that the Secret Service deactivated her pass, reducing her access to the more classified areas.

Manigault’s departure was a long time coming and Kelly’s decision to limit access to the president was a source of tension for her, according to multiple sources.

She said, however, Kelly brought “much needed order to the West Wing,” denying that he restricted her access to Trump.

But she added, “Certainly I had more access than most and people had problems with that. People had problems with my 14-year relationship with this president.”



A White House official said in a statement Wednesday that Manigault resigned “to pursue other opportunities.”

Manigault, 43, will stay on until Jan. 20, according to the White House.

A former “The Apprentice” contestant, Manigault served on Trump’s transition executive committee and later hired as communications director for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House. She had worked in Vice President Al Gore’s office during the Clinton administration.

In her role in the Trump administration, Manigault was among the White House advisers earning the highest salary, according to a White House list of staff salaries.

She was in charge of outreach to the leaders of HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and also oversaw the president’s visit to the Smithsonian’s African American museum in Washington, D.C. But Manigault’s day-to-day duties could not be pinpointed and, according to Politico, she used the White House as a backdrop for her 39-person bridal party to take wedding photos.

Salma Hayek recalls Harvey Weinstein ‘fury’ on ‘Frida’ set in op-ed

(CNN)Salma Hayek is breaking her silence about Harvey Weinstein in a New York Times op-ed in which the star details sexual harassment and abusive behavior on the set of “Frida.”

(CNN)Salma Hayek is breaking her silence about Harvey Weinstein in a New York Times op-ed in which the star details sexual harassment and abusive behavior on the set of “Frida.”
Hayek’s story comes two months after a group of women, including actress Ashley Judd, first came forward with allegations against the disgraced movie mogul.
His accusers now include nearly 70 women.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment, misconduct and sexual assault. Through a spokeswoman, Weinstein has previously denied any instances of “non-consensual” sex or “acts of retaliation.”
When contacted by CNN, Weinstein’s representatives did not immediately have a response to Hayek’s story.

Winning a landmark court case should have put Chris Strong’s life back together. Instead he finds himself drawn once more into the dark world of hidden shadows and conspiracy. Come join Chris on his journey to take back his life. His football career on the rocks and loved ones missing makes for a mysterious ride. Will Chris find his friends in time and will his life ever be the same. Only time will tell.

A spokesperson for Hayek told CNN she had no further comment.
In her piece, Hayek admits she initially “didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.” But she now confesses, “For years, he was my monster.”
RELATED: Lupita Nyong’o reveals Weinstein harassment, calls for action
The two entered into a business relationship when Hayek sought a company with which to produce the script for “Frida,” about the famed artist and icon Frida Kahlo.
Hayek said after starting the development process, she found herself dealing with repeated instances of sexual harassment by Weinstein, including requests that she take a shower with him and offers of massages and oral sex.
“I don’t think he hated anything more than the word ‘no,” wrote Hayek, who said her constant rebuffing would always result in Weinstein exhibiting “Machiavellian rage.”
“The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,'” she said.
Weinstein eventually held the future of the film over her, according to Hayek.
She fought legally to get the production back on track but doing so came with numerous, nearly impossible conditions, including a rewrite of the script, raising $10 million for financing, and casting four prominent actors in smaller roles.
Hayek credits “a phalanx of angels who came to my rescue,” including Edward Norton, who rewrote the script for no credit, producer Margaret Perenchio and director Julie Taymor.
RELATED: Six women sue Harvey Weinstein and his company in class action lawsuit
Once filming started, Hayek said “the sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated.”
“We paid the price for standing up to him nearly every day of shooting,” she said. “Once, in an interview he said Julie and I were the biggest ball busters he had ever encountered, which we took as a compliment.”
Hayek said Weinstein made it a point to belittle her abilities as a producer and actress. He told her “the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal,” she said.
Weinstein demanded the addition of a love scene with full-frontal nudity, threatening to shut down production if they refused, Hayek said.

Win cash on the Brian The Hammer & Ellen Radio Show Every Monday

“This time, it was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation,” she said. “I had to say yes.”
The scene was included, but Hayek says filming it caused her emotional distress, so much so that she took a tranquilizer to film it.
“Since those around me had no knowledge of my history of Harvey, they were very surprised by my struggle that morning,” she recalled. “It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.”
By the time the filming of the movie was over, Hayek she was “so emotionally distraught that I had to distance myself during the postproduction.”
“Frida” would go on to be nominated for six Academy Awards, including Hayek for best actress, and was awarded two Oscars.
Hayek said she found comfort in “telling myself that I went to war and I won.” But asks, “why do so many of us, as female artists, have to go to war to tell our stories when we have so much to offer?”
“Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators,” she said.

World records being more than broken!

One man who dared to dream a challenge of such an incomprehensible undertaking,  that upon this new attempt,  everyone is willing him to return victorious.

For this time the stakes are raised,  all the planning and preparations,  thrown now into disarray!   Literally just a matter of minutes beforehand too.

Out of his hands now,  his reservations must be forgotten,  dissolved into deadwood and replaced with his focusing and thirst for triumph.

Solitary and singularly carrying this storm away to a transfer of calm waters and warm climates,  while climbing the waterfall of fate!

Through the strictest of endurance and immeasurable pain,  determination,  dedication and drive,  proved to push him forwards to deliver his home country,  the hero they had long hoped for.

After refusing safety clothing, after seeing colleagues die,  our lone swimmer,  a humble Librarian from Romania became the first from his home land to ever successfully swim the English Channel,  this was his last attempt and the odds were severely stacked against him.

A hero he surely returned and he never stopped there,  the year that followed his lifetime achievement,  2017 the very year we are in,  he announced he will attempt to swim The Danube!

This was a mammoth journey!   Not just a day, 89 days infact  would be required of consecutive daily swimming and our adventurer Avram insisted he swims as he is,  looking like he is going for a swim in the local swimming pool!

Success and on the first attempt!

2017 WOWSA Awards

This leaves only one question

What’s next ?   What tops The Channel and the Danube?   The third major milestone, now this is only going to be something that is going to be keeping us in suspense the whole way through!!

J. K. Rowling Epically Shuts Down Article Calling Meghan Markle ‘Unsuitable’

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has fiercely hit back at a British magazine article that criticized Prince Harry’s engagement to

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has fiercely hit back at a British magazine article that criticized Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle.

The Spectator shared the following piece by contributor Melanie McDonagh to its website on Monday after the news broke that the British royal had popped the question to the American “Suits” actress:

McDonagh’s article suggested that Markle, who will become the first American to officially marry a British royal when they tie the knot in Spring 2018, was “unsuitable as Prince Harry’s wife” because she is divorced.

“Obviously, seventy years ago, Meghan Markle would have been the kind of woman the Prince would have had for a mistress, not a wife,” McDonagh wrote.

It was not received well on Twitter, with many people pointing out that Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles, divorced Princess Diana. They also noted that Prince Charles later married the also divorced Camilla Parker Bowles, who is now the Duchess of Cornwall.

Rowling, also a divorcée, appeared to have the final say when she posted this single hashtag in support of the newly engaged couple:

Prince Harry: No One in Royal Family Wants to be King or Queen

Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry found himself the subject of headlines all over the world today as news broke of an interview in which he claimed that no one in the royal family wants to be king or queen.

Prince Harry found himself the subject of headlines all over the world today as news broke of an interview in which he claimed that no one in the royal family wants to be king or queen.

The 32-year-old prince was being interviewed by Newsweek when he spoke about the lack of interest in reigning over the United Kingdom.

“We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people.

“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”

His father Prince Charles is next in line to the throne when Queen Elizabeth II dies, and his brother Prince William and nephew Prince George are set to rule as successive kings.

Harry works tirelessly on behalf of various charities, and spoke of the usefulness of his position in this regard. “I feel there is just a smallish window when people are interested in me,” he said of the period before Prince George and Princess Charlotte take over, and that he’s “got to make the most of it.”

He also said that, “People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live,” and credited their mother Princess Diana with raising them to lead their lives in this way.

“Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping. But it’s a tricky balancing act. We don’t want to dilute the magic… The British public and the whole world need institutions like it.”

Speaking of his desire to do good in the world, he said, “My mother died when I was very young. I didn’t want to be in the positions I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good. I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh.”

Although he still sometimes feel that he is living in “a goldfish bowl” he still enjoys indulging his “naughty streak.”

Harry recently revealed that he sought counseling in his 20s to help deal with the trauma of losing his mother when he was 12, and spoke more about the effect of her loss in his Newsweek interview.

He and William walked behind Princess Diana’s coffin during her funeral procession through London in the summer of 1997, but Harry stresses that this was a less than ideal situation for a grieving child.

“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television.

“I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”