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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 113)

Reports: Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins suffers serious knee injury

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Reports: Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins suffers serious knee injury

SportsPulse: The NBA schedule came out and yes we know it is a lot to sift through. Trysta Krick provides the key dates, matchups and moments that will answer the biggest questions facing the top teams. USA TODAY

Four-time NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, has suffered a serious knee injury, according to multiple reports.

The 29-year-old suffered the injury while working out in Las Vegas on Monday, according to ESPN, which noted that he’ll undergo more tests Thursday to confirm the Lakers’ fear that he tore his ACL.

Cousins has dealt with a string of injuries in recent years. He missed much of last season with the Golden State Warriors recovering from an Achilles tear he suffered in January 2018 while with the New Orleans Pelicans. He then missed several weeks with a quad injury during the Warriors’ playoff run.

In 30 regular-season games with the Warriors, he averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 blocks.

Cousins signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with Los Angeles in July, joining forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Though his health has been up and down, fans were hopeful Cousins and Davis would make a monster pairing in the frontcourt. 

Now it seems those expectations will have to wait as the Lakers may be without one of those pieces for most, if not all, of the 2019-20 season.

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The #TrumpRecession Label Is Going to Stick

Westlake Legal Group OJvgi6QP4yYFzh5vo879LS9v7bLWC0UCTFMISpfRKzc The #TrumpRecession Label Is Going to Stick r/politics

I feel like it should be hyphenated as the Trump-BREXIT recession.

Germany and Britain are probably already in recessions based on their latest growth estimates… we just won’t know its 2 quarters of no growth until after another quarter and by then it will be time for No-Deal BREXIT to go through thanks in part to Boris Johnson’s maneuverings to essentially stop the British Parliament from voting for another extension by calling for an election at the last minute.

My guess is that by this November, a No-Deal Hard BREXIT will go through and trigger a panic in the European markets that will likely spread to the US. What will make it Trump’s recession is that the chaos he’s spent the last 3 years sewing has fundamentally weakened the economy, meaning it will sting normal people harder than it would have if our President wasn’t a vindictive idiot.

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Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them

Westlake Legal Group 15israel-congresswomen-facebookJumbo Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them West Bank visas United States International Relations tlaib, rashida Palestinians Omar, Ilhan Israel Boycotts

JERUSALEM — Israel on Thursday barred two American Democratic congresswomen who had planned to visit the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hours after President Trump had urged the country to block them.

Mr. Trump’s intervention was an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home. Israel’s decision to bar the two congresswomen, Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, was widely criticized, including by prominent Israel supporters.

The two lawmakers, both freshmen, are the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Both are outspoken adversaries of Mr. Trump and have been vocal in their support of the Palestinians and the boycott-Israel movement.

The president has targeted them in speeches and Twitter postings that his critics have called racist and xenophobic.

It was reported last week that Mr. Trump was pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to deny entrance to the two women, and Thursday morning he left little doubt. While Israeli officials were still deliberating the matter, he said in a Twitter post that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”

Later on Thursday Israel’s Interior Ministry announced that Mr. Netanyahu had decided to deny entry to the two American lawmakers, on grounds of their “boycott activities against Israel” and in accordance with the country’s anti-boycott law.

“No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the state of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement after the decision had been announced. “As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for, and work to impose, boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prevent the entry of people believed to be damaging to the country.”

Welcoming the decision, Mr. Trump said on Twitter: “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!”

His ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, said in a statement that the boycott movement was “no less than economic warfare” and that Israel had “every right to protect its borders” against activists who support it.

In lobbying a foreign government to bar members of the United States Congress, Mr. Trump crossed yet another line that other presidents generally respected. No matter how virulent their differences at home, presidents have traditionally not enlisted the help of overseas allies to take action against domestic political adversaries.

But Mr. Trump has demonstrated time and again over the last two and a half years that he sees little need to observe the norms that governed previous occupants of the White House, dismissing them either as antiquated or irrelevant if he recognized their existence at all. To Mr. Trump, politics is a contact sport with few limits and Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib have become two of his favorite targets.

Mr. Trump’s intervention also placed him at odds with the Republican leadership in Congress and even some pro-Israel advocacy groups in the United States.

“I feel very secure in this, that anyone who comes with open ears, open eyes and an open mind will walk away with an understanding, just as all these members here do, that this bond is unbreakable,” the House minority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday, while leading a delegation of 31 Republican lawmakers. “I think all should come.”

Speaking at a news conference with Mr. McCarthy, Representative Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader who was heading a delegation to Israel of 41 Democratic representatives, agreed. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader, said denying the representatives was “a sign of weakness, not strength.”

“No democratic society should fear an open debate,” he tweeted. “Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”

Many Israelis and Jewish leaders have also expressed discomfort with the idea that American officials could be denied entry because of their beliefs or criticism of Israel. Just last month, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, said that Israel would not deny entry to any United States representatives.

David Harris, chairman of the American Jewish Committee, a prominent pro-Israel organization, said it disagreed with Mr. Netanyahu’s decision even though the group strongly opposes the views expressed by the two congresswomen.

“While we fully respect Israel’s sovereign right to control entry into the country, a right that every nation employs, and while we are under no illusions about the implacably hostile views of Reps. Omar and Tlaib on Israel-related issues, we nonetheless believe that the costs in the U.S. of barring the entry of two members of Congress may prove even higher than the alternative,” Mr. Harris said in a statement.

Jeremy Ben Ami, the leader of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group in Washington, sharply criticized both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu. J Street, which backs Democrats who support Israel, did not endorse Ms. Omar, and withdrew its endorsement of Ms. Tlaib last year after she said she did not support a two-state solution and expressed support for the boycott-Israel movement.

“The very foundations of American and Israeli democracy are being called into question by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Mr. Ben Ami said in an interview. “If you’re not allowed entry into a country because of your views, then we have reached the end of the ability to say the U.S.-Israel relationship is based on shared democratic values.”

Ms. Omar had been scheduled to arrive on Sunday for a tour of the West Bank, partly under the auspices of an organization headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, that was expected to highlight Palestinian grievances over the Israeli occupation.

The women had been planning to visit the West Bank cities of Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem, as well as Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, according to Ms. Ashrawi, including a visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque, a hotly contested and volatile holy site. Most of the delegation was expected to depart on Aug. 22, but Ms. Tlaib had been planning to stay to visit relatives in the West Bank.

No meetings had been planned with either Israeli or Palestinian officials, other than Ms. Ashrawi, who is also a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee. She said the organization she leads, Miftah, was co-sponsoring the visit.

The purpose of the visit, Ms. Ashrawi said, was to give the congresswomen a way “to engage with the Palestinian people directly and to see things on the ground.”

“What are they afraid of?” she said, referring to the Israeli government. “That they might find out things?”

Ms. Tlaib, of Palestinian descent, has spoken often of her grandmother, who lives on the West Bank, while Ms. Omar, a Somali refugee, is the first woman to wear a hijab on the House floor.

While they were hailed as symbols of diversity when they arrived in Washington, they quickly became embroiled in controversy over their statements on Israel and on supporters of the Jewish state. Ms. Omar apologized after she said support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins, baby” — a reference to $100 bills.

In early March, the House voted to condemn all forms of hatred after Ms. Omar said pro-Israel activists were “pushing for allegiance to a foreign country,” a remark that critics in both parties said invoked the longstanding anti-Semitic trope of “dual loyalty.”

Those remarks have been deeply problematic for Democratic leaders, who are trying to demonstrate solidarity with Israel. And they have given Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans an opening to fan the flames of racial division, in an effort to break the longstanding alliance between American Jews and the Democratic Party.

Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib’s public support for the boycott movement had already drawn criticism from the White House. In remarks last month that were widely condemned as racist, Mr. Trump said that four congresswomen of color — Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib, as well as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — should “go back” to the countries they came from.

Axios reported recently that President Trump had told advisers that he thought Mr. Netanyahu should bar Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar under a law that denies entry to foreign nationals who publicly show support for a boycott.

Under the law, passed in 2017, Israel can bar entry to people considered prominent advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a loose network that, among other goals, aims to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank. Pro-Israel advocates accuse the movement’s supporters of anti-Semitism.

Last month, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott-Israel movement as one that “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”

Mr. Netanyahu, for his part, is in the middle of a tight election campaign, and some analysts say he can ill afford to appear weak when dealing with high-profile critics of Israeli policies. At the same time, he is involved in a high-wire act of trying to balance Israel’s ties with the Democrats and his close embrace of, and support from, Mr. Trump.

“If they are prevented from entering, it will be the foolishness of the Netanyahu government,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York, told Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday. “These are congresswomen of the majority party, which most American Jews vote for.”

One of the main points of contention over the planned itinerary appears to be the visit to the Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. A sacred site revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as Temple Mount, the location of their ancient temples, it is a frequent flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and a former deputy foreign minister, told Israel’s Kan Radio on Thursday that the congresswomen should be allowed to enter Israel “but with restrictions.”

“If they want to stage a provocation by entering the Temple Mount with Palestinian hosts, then that can be prevented,” he said.

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Washington state trooper finds driver playing ‘Pokemon Go’ on 8 phones

This driver clearly wanted to catch them all.

Authorities in Washington state said a state trooper who pulled over Tuesday to help what he thought was a disabled vehicle instead found a motorist playing “Pokemon Go” on eight different phones.

Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson said on Twitter the driver was stopped on the shoulder of the eastbound lanes of Highway 518 in Burien, located just south of Seattle.

VIRGINIA SECURITY GUARD SENTENCED FOR KILLING GRANDPA PLAYING ‘POKEMON GO’

Johnson, a spokesman for the patrol, shared a photo of what Sgt. Kyle Smith discovered in the vehicle: a blue foam square with the eight phones lying in special cutouts.

Westlake Legal Group pokemon-go Washington state trooper finds driver playing 'Pokemon Go' on 8 phones Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/washington fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 1dfe8d80-bfee-527d-804d-166c32546de7

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Kyle Smith discovered a driver along the side of a highway playing “Pokemon Go” on eight phones on Tuesday, acording to police. (WSP Trooper Rick Johnson)

“Driver agreed to put phones in back seat and continued his commute with eight less distractions,” Johnson said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Smith did not issue a ticket because he did not observe the car moving while the driver was using the phones, according to Johnson.

The sergeant, however, did advise the motorist not to stop along the highway shoulder unless there was an emergency.

Westlake Legal Group pokemon-go Washington state trooper finds driver playing 'Pokemon Go' on 8 phones Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/washington fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 1dfe8d80-bfee-527d-804d-166c32546de7   Westlake Legal Group pokemon-go Washington state trooper finds driver playing 'Pokemon Go' on 8 phones Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/washington fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 1dfe8d80-bfee-527d-804d-166c32546de7

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Bam Margera checks into rehab after trespassing arrest

Westlake Legal Group bam-margera-reuters-660 Bam Margera checks into rehab after trespassing arrest Jessica Sager fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article af00685a-43de-5c21-9fa5-6c2eb4904363

“Jackass” star Bam Margera is back in rehab.

Margera, 39, was readmitted to a treatment center almost immediately after posting bail on Wednesday on charges he refused to leave a hotel bar, TMZ reported.

The rehabilitation center reportedly put demands on Margera to commit to its program and put in place special rules he must follow to continue treatment.

BAM MARGERA ARRESTED AFTER REFUSING TO LEAVE HOTEL BAR

Sources close to his family told the site that he was likely off his bipolar disorder medication, leading to his meltdown.

Margera was arrested earlier this week after he allegedly refused to leave the Luxe Hotel bar on West Sunset Boulevard, the LAPD confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday.

A hotel staffer placed Margera under citizen’s arrest, which officers helped facilitate once they arrived on the scene.

BAM MARGERA CHECKS INTO REHAB FOR ALCOHOL ABUSE FOR THE THIRD TIME

The arrest occurred at 11:56 p.m.

Video footage obtained by TMZ shows Margera arguing with officers, who asked him not to make a scene and to simply exit the hotel’s premises.

Reps for Margera, a skateboarder who came to prominence after starring in the “Jackass” series on MTV from 2000 to 2002, did not return Fox News’ request for comment on his arrest.

The former “Jackass” star sought help for alcohol addiction at the behest of his wife Nikki, his mother and Dr. Phil, whose name Margera got tattooed on his neck.

Dr. Phil told TMZ, “I hope he can resume treatment. My attitude is, never surrender to the disease. It is a tug of war and you just can’t ever drop your end of the rope. Bam is such a charming, hard working and talented guy. You can’t help but like and pull for him. Fingers crossed.”

BAM MARGERA TAPPED TO REFEREE BAGEL BOSS FIGHT

Margera last went to rehab in January 2019.

He also checked into treatment a year earlier after being arrested for driving under the influence, Page Six reported.

In September 2017, Margera’s parents revealed that his “rock star” lifestyle spun out of control, leading Margera to drink instead of eating and speculating that the skateboarder also had bulimic tendencies.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Margera admitted at the time to abusing both alcohol and drugs.

Westlake Legal Group bam-margera-reuters-660 Bam Margera checks into rehab after trespassing arrest Jessica Sager fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article af00685a-43de-5c21-9fa5-6c2eb4904363   Westlake Legal Group bam-margera-reuters-660 Bam Margera checks into rehab after trespassing arrest Jessica Sager fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article af00685a-43de-5c21-9fa5-6c2eb4904363

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What’s the Deal With That Inverted Yield Curve? A Sports Analogy Might Help

Westlake Legal Group yield-curve-3d-embed-1565821381400-facebookJumbo What’s the Deal With That Inverted Yield Curve? A Sports Analogy Might Help United States Economy Recession and Depression Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) Interest Rates gambling football

The financial world has been atwitter about the inversion of the yield curve. It is a phenomenon in the bond market in which longer-term interest rates fall below shorter-term interest rates, and has historically been a warning sign that a recession could be on the way.

This all seems obvious to people who are steeped in bond market math and the workings of fixed-income markets, and can be completely perplexing to those who are not.

Maybe a sports gambling analogy will make the intuition clearer.

Any adult can walk into a casino and bet on how an N.F.L. team will do this year. For example, bettors once again expect the New England Patriots to be an excellent team — that they are likely to win 11 or 12 out of their 16 games. Casinos will let you wager on how many games they will win this season.

But what if casinos not only would let you bet on how a team will do this year, but how they will perform over the next, 2, 5, 10 or even 30 years? What would you pay for a betting slip that promises, say, a $10 payout for every Patriots regular season win in the next decade?

And what if you could then sell that slip to other gamblers, with its price rising and falling as bettors’ views on the outlook for the Patriots changes? Essentially, you could take the price that people are paying for those slips with different durations, and, with some simple math, figure out how many games bettors expect the team to win each year in the future.

That’s kind of what the bond market does with interest rates. Bonds that mature at different times are always trading on global markets, and with some fairly simple math you can figure out what the price of different bonds implies about how interest rates are expected to change over the coming years.

Interest rates are closely connected to the rate of economic growth and inflation. In boom times, lots of people want to borrow money, to expand their businesses, say, or buy houses. And the Federal Reserve will raise the interest rate that it controls in order to prevent the economy from overheating, resulting in inflation. When a slowdown comes, the process works in reverse.

If you buy, say, a 90-day Treasury bill, you are likely to receive an interest rate that is closely tied to whatever the Federal Reserve has currently set as its main target for interest rates in the banking system and any changes the Fed might make in the near future.

It’s like betting on next week’s game: We know a lot about what opponent your team is facing, how well they’ve been playing, whether there are injuries that are likely to affect the outcome.

But if you buy a 10-year Treasury note, you’re making a bet on the more distant future. The economy will probably change a lot over the next decade. You can’t predict exactly what will happen, but you are betting on the general direction of things: Do you expect the economy to heat up, creating inflation pressures and causing the Fed to raise rates? Or do you expect it cool down?

So purchase of a longer-term Treasury bond is like making one of those long-term bets with a casino on how a team will perform for many years to come. You have no idea what the details are of which players they will sign or who will be coaching the team. You are betting on the general direction.

How might that bet might look with two different teams?

The Arizona Cardinals were terrible last year, and most bettors expect them to be pretty bad this year as well: Vegas odds suggest they will only win five or six games. But they have drafted an exciting young quarterback (Kyler Murray) and hired a new coach.

Even if you’re not a believer in the Cardinals for this season, you could reasonably expect that they will get better in the coming years — that their future is better than their present. If most bettors believed that, you could tell that from the difference between the price of a 10-year Cardinals betting contract and a one-year Cardinals betting contract — it might reveal, for example, that the team is expected to go from winning 5 games this year to 9 games two or three years from now.

Or consider the Patriots. They have been the best team in the game for the past two decades, but their quarterback, Tom Brady, is 42 years old, and their coach, Bill Belichick, is 67. It would be reasonable to expect the team to decline over the next decade after these stars retire.

The prices of the Patriots one-year contract, in other words, would probably reflect greater optimism than their 10-year contract.

Essentially, the relative prices of those short-term versus long-term betting contracts would tell you whether a team is viewed as likely to be on the upswing or the downswing — not necessarily today but at some point in the next few years.

That’s exactly what the yield curve is doing: It is telling us the difference between shorter-term and longer-term interest rates, and hence whether investors expect the economy to get better or worse in the years ahead. Our fictional Patriots yield curve is inverted, and so is the actual United States Treasury bond yield curve.

[Here’s more about the yield curve and the 3-D rendering that appears with this article.]

The moves in the bond market over the last nine months and especially the last couple of weeks are the equivalent of what would happen if Mr. Brady and Mr. Belichick both announced that this would be their last season before retiring. The current outlook remains stable, but the outlook for the coming decade has gotten worse.

Longer-term rates below shorter term rates are a clear signal from bond investors that they think the United States economy is on the downswing — that its future looks worse than its present.

It’s the opposite of times like 2009, when the economy was in recession and the yield curve pointed to future improvement. At those moments, the United States more resembled the Cardinals, a bad team but with room to improve in the coming years and (potentially) the tools to do it.

The good news is that this is merely the best guess of investors with trillions of dollars on the line. It could be wrong. Maybe the Patriots will pluck another Brady-esque quarterback in the draft, Mr. Belichick will coach until he is 80, and the team will remain a perennial Super Bowl contender. Market prices can be wrong!

And similarly, maybe the negative signals about the global economy will turn out to be overdone, and the United States economy will continue improving despite what the yield curve is suggesting now.

A lot of surprising things can happen in one N.F.L. season, let alone across years of them. That’s even more true for the global economy.

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John Hickenlooper Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race

Westlake Legal Group 5d1b5af22500006813e9c1df John Hickenlooper Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, he announced Thursday.

“Today, I’m ending my campaign for president,” he said in a videotaped statement. “But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.”

The announcement came as Hickenlooper appeared unlikely to qualify for the September primary debate.

Hickenlooper may turn to the Senate in 2020, as he is considered a strong candidate to run against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

“I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate,” Hickenlooper said. “They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”

In a crowded field of candidates, Hickenlooper was notable for his loud opposition to the term “socialism” and for his unusual path to politics. Before his two terms as Denver mayor ― the office he held before becoming governor ― Hickenlooper worked in the private sector, first as a geologist for oil companies, and later opening a brewpub in Denver.

His two terms as governor were marked by passing progressive policies in a purple state, though during the 2020 Democratic primary his positions were squarely moderate relative to some others in the left-leaning field.

Since announcing his presidential bid in March, Hickenlooper has failed to gain traction. He was not the only moderate candidate in the fie, often overlooked by those who might gravitate toward former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). In fact, he wasn’t even the only candidate from Colorado, with Sen. Michael Bennet also in the running.

At the California Democratic Party State Convention in June, Hickenlooper was loudly booed for saying that “socialism is not the answer.”

Despite the negative response, he held firm to that position at the first Democratic debate, often going after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has touted democratic socialism as the future of the party.

“Well, I think that the bottom line is, if we don’t clearly define that we are not socialists, the Republicans are going to come at us every way they can and call us socialists,” he said onstage.

HuffPost polling data released shortly after the debate indicated that Hickenlooper had again failed to stand out.

In July, his campaign troubles continued as five key staffers — including his campaign manager and national finance director — said they would be leaving his campaign.

In the debate later that month, Hickenlooper again went after Sanders, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who shares many the Vermont senator’s more sweeping progressive views. 

But again, polling data following the debate showed Warren and Sanders getting the better of the exchange. Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters who tuned in were 15 percentage points likelier to say it worsened rather than improved their opinions of Hickenlooper.

Coming into the race, Hickenlooper always knew his candidacy was considered a long shot.

“I’m sure you’ve seen many of the same stories I did. ‘What chance does he have?’ And, ‘He doesn’t take a strong enough position on this or that,’” Hickenlooper told Politico just weeks after launching his campaign. “Which is sort of how science works, right? You don’t jump to snap judgments. You try to make sure you get all the facts, and think it through, then make better decisions.”

Though his campaign fell out of touch with Democratic voters, Hickenlooper remained firm in his stances throughout the race, embracing his role as the critic of socialism.

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Israel blocks Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering country

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Israel blocks Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering country

President Donald Trump’s top Mideast advisers, Jared Kushner, and Jason Greenblatt met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to discuss the Trump administration’s long-awaited plan for Mideast peace. (May 30) AP

WASHINGTON – Israeli officials said Thursday they would bar two American members of Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from visiting the country — shortly after President Donald Trump encouraged Israel to take that extraordinary step.

Trump has bitterly feuded with the two women over Israel and other issues, and on Thursday, he ramped up that domestic political spat by saying Israel would be weak if it allowed Omar and Tlaib to visit and accusing them of being anti-Semitic.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.” 

Omar and Tlaib had planned to travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, among other stops, this weekend.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is engaged in a bruising re-election fight, announced the decision less than two hours after Trump’s provocative tweet.

“Congressmen Talib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in the US Congress,” Netanyahu wrote in a tweet of his own Thursday. “Only a few days ago, we received their visitation plan, and it became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”

Omar on President Trump: This is ‘a fight for the soul of our nation’

Spokesmen for Omar and Tlaib did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Israel’s decision — a reversal from its previous position on the visit — came despite last-minute entreaties from House Democratic leaders to allow Omar and Tlaib to travel to Israel. The move sparked a fierce backlash from Democrats in Congress who said it would hurt U.S.-Israel relations.

“This action reflects weakness, not strength,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Hoyer said he spoke with Netanyahu on Wednesday and urged him to allow Omar and Tlaib’s visit to go forward.

“The Israeli government should seek to engage these members of Congress in a dialogue regarding Israel’s security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Hoyer said.  

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, a Jewish Democrat from New York and staunch supporter of Israel, said the decision would only fuel anti-Israel sentiment.

“If Israel’s government hopes to win the support of American lawmakers across the political spectrum, then this visit could have been an opportunity to share views and make a case for why American support for Israel is so important,” Engel said. “Instead, refusing entry to members of Congress looks like Israel closing itself off to criticism and dialogue. This decision will only strengthen the anti-Israel movements and arguments many of us find so troubling, further politicize support for Israel in the United States, and ultimately play right into the hands of Israel’s enemies.” 

Just last month, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S, Ron Dermer, said the two congresswomen would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.” 

Omar and Tlaib — the first elected Muslim women to serve in Congress — have been sharply critical of Trump on a broad range of issues. Omar has sparked particular controversy because of her outspoken opposition to the Trump administration’s foreign policy and her remarks about the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby in the U.S., which many said played into anti-Semitic tropes. 

Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents. Omar was born in Somalia, fleeing that country’s civil war with her family when she was 8 years old.

The two Democrats have also expressed support for a boycott movement targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. They have both said their views are based on policy disagreements, not any anti-Jewish sentiment.

Netanyahu defended the decision on Thursday, saying it was not about silencing critics of Israel. 

“There is no country in the world that respects the US and the US Congress more than the State of Israel,” the prime minister tweeted. “As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: Israel’s law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel.”

In March 2017, the Knesset, Israeli’s legislature, passed a law requiring the interior minister to ban foreign nationals from entering Israel if they publicly expressed support for boycotting Israel. 

Netanyahu said Talib might be allowed to visit her family in the West Bank, “subject to a commitment that she would not act to promote the boycotts against Israel.” That decision would be made by Israel’s interior minister, he said.

More: Netanyahu to Omar: ‘From this Benjamin: It’s not about the Benjamins!’

Netanyahu’s decision even drew a rebuke from the powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. 

“We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace (boycott) movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution,” AIPAC said in a statement. “We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

Tlaib: ‘I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach’ Trump

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Danny Masterson, Church of Scientology sued for alleged rape cover-up, stalking

Four women who previously accused actor Danny Masterson of rape have reportedly filed a lawsuit against him and also the Church of Scientology alleging that they were stalked and harassed by church members.

The women reported their cases to the LAPD in late 2016 and early 2017 regarding attacks that allegedly took place in the early 2000s. Masterson, who has denied the allegations several times and is a well-known Scientologist, is the subject of an ongoing investigation into the matter by police. However, his accusers are now taking legal action of their own.

“Once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”

— Danny Masterson

One of the plaintiffs in the suit is Marie Bobette Riales, who dated the actor in the past. Masterson told Fox News in a statement that the lawsuit is “beyond ridiculous.”

“I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years,” Masterson said via his attorney. “I will beat her in court — and look forward to it because the public will finally be able learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”

DANNY MASTERSON RAPE ACCUSATIONS FROM FELLOW SCIENTOLOGISTS RESURFACE

Westlake Legal Group de9efb50-danny20masterson20ap Danny Masterson, Church of Scientology sued for alleged rape cover-up, stalking Tyler McCarthy fox-news/us/crime/rape fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c6e77a36-d846-5c68-918d-e7a3bb4cf650 article

Danny Masterson has denied rape and sexual assault allegations against him for years. He and the Church of Scientology are now being sued for allegedly harassing and stalking his accusers. (AP)

DANNY MASTERSON’S RAPE ACCUSERS RIP NETFLIX

Masterson was fired from his role on the Netflix series “The Ranch” and dropped by his agents over the allegations.

The Church of Scientology is mentioned in the suit because the accusers, two of whom chose to remain anonymous and three of whom were former church members, claim they were targeted by the organization as retaliation after making their allegations public.

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According to Variety, Riales claims members from the Church of Scientology are stalking her, reportedly breaking a window in her 13-year-old daughter’s room in the middle of the night, vandalizing the food truck that she owns and posting false negative reviews or sales ads for the truck.

HOW THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY ALLEGEDLY PROTECTED DANNY MASTERSON FROM RAPE ACCUSATIONS

NETFLIX EXEC APOLOGIZES FOR SAYING THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE DANNY MASTERSON RAPE ACCUSERS

Another plaintiff, Chrissie Bixler, a former Scientologist, reportedly claims church members chased her in her car, filmed her without permission, harassed her online and had false credit schemes and ads soliciting sex posted on her behalf to social media. The outlet notes she also claims her dog died unexpectedly shortly after the alleged October 2017 car chase due to “traumatic injuries to her trachea and esophagus.”

LEAH REMINI’S ‘SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH’ TO END WITH DANNY MASTERSON RAPE ALLEGATION SPECIAL

The church, however, denies the allegations and points to one of its biggest detractors, Leah Remini, as the one pushing the alleged smear campaign.

“From everything we have read in the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It’s a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini is taking advantage of these people as pawns in her moneymaking scam,” litigation counsel for the Church of Scientology International told Fox News in a statement.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Remini, an actress and former Scientologist, will end her award-winning series “Scientology and the Aftermath” with a two-hour special that will, in part, explore the Masterson case.

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Black hole at Milky Way’s center seen behaving strangely

Westlake Legal Group black-hole-milky-way-NASA Black hole at Milky Way's center seen behaving strangely fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fox-news/science/air-and-space fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article a6905718-a962-5bba-afea-76ca37eb25a9

The black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy is behaving strangely, according to astronomers.

In May, scientists observing Sagittarius A, as the black hole is known, saw something unique taking place in the matter around it.

“The black hole is always variable, but this was the brightest we’ve seen in the infrared so far,” Tuan Do, an astronomer at the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of the new study, said in a statement on Twitter. “It was probably even brighter before we started observing that night!”

According to Space.com, his hypothesis is based on the fact that, when the astronomers focused on the area on May 13, they saw relatively high brightness decreasing, suggesting that the black hole had passed an unknown peak that was even brighter.

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The researchers’ paper states that the recent flare brought Sagittarius A to twice the brightness of the highest previous measurement up to that point.

Do and his colleagues used the Keck telescopes on the top of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, which have the power to see the world in near infrared light.

Their theory is reportedly that the black hole flare could have been triggered by the close passage of either a star called S0-2 or a dusty object called G2.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group black-hole-milky-way-NASA Black hole at Milky Way's center seen behaving strangely fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fox-news/science/air-and-space fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article a6905718-a962-5bba-afea-76ca37eb25a9   Westlake Legal Group black-hole-milky-way-NASA Black hole at Milky Way's center seen behaving strangely fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fox-news/science/air-and-space fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article a6905718-a962-5bba-afea-76ca37eb25a9

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