Trump Is Scrambling To Avoid A Special Election Defeat In This Rust Belt District

HOUSTON, Pa. ― Conor Lamb, the Democrat running to represent this district in Congress, was wrapping up an interview with a reporter last week when Ted Skowvron, a 93-year-old veteran in a World War II cap, walked over to shake his hand.

Lamb thanked Skowvron for his service and asked him where he’d served.

Skowvron informed Lamb that was he was a ball gunner on a B-17 in the European theater. But he was more interested in discussing President Donald Trump.

“I just wanted to let you know: Get in there and get him out! Cuz if you don’t do it, I’m coming down myself,” the lifelong Democrat and retired union crane operator exclaimed.  

Meet the Resistance here in Pennsylvania’s southwestern corner. Lamb is hoping there are enough voters like Skowvron who will help him score another upset victory for Democrats and flip a GOP-held seat in the special election on March 13.

This district should be no problem for Republicans to hang onto. Pennsylvania Republicans gerrymandered the 18th District to combine GOP-leaning Pittsburgh suburbs with once-Democratic mill towns and rural areas that have trended steadily more Republican in recent national elections. Tim Murphy, the Republican incumbent, ran unopposed in 2014 and 2016, and Trump won the district by a whopping 20 percentage points.

But the special election clearly has Republicans on edge.

Lamb is competing with Republican Rick Saccone, a 59-year-old state representative and former military intelligence officer. Murphy had held the seat comfortably since 2003, but resigned in October after it emerged that the anti-abortion congressman had asked a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair to have an abortion.

Democrats have had a string of victories since Trump’s inauguration. In fact, they’ve flipped 34 state legislative seats, one governor’s seat and one U.S. Senate seat from red to blue. Republicans, meanwhile, have only picked up four state legislative seats.

Trump is heading to the 18th District on Thursday to stave off another potentially embarrassing defeat. He’ll hold a rally for Saccone, whose fundraising has reportedly been lackluster.

Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping that the energy from the base and the excitement from other wins over the past year will bubble over to benefit Lamb as well.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Democrat Conor Lamb, 33, a veteran of the Marines and former federal prosecutor, is running in a district Donald Trump won by a landslide.

An Upset In The Heart Of Trump Country?

Skowvron was one of some 85 people who braved snow-clogged roads and temperatures in the teens on Saturday to hear Lamb, a 33-year-old former federal prosecutor and veteran of the Marines, speak briefly at an American Legion hall in a small town southwest of Pittsburgh.

The boisterous crowd, which gave Lamb the whooping welcome of a celebrity, looked like the district. It was overwhelmingly white, with more VFW caps, union pins and Pittsburgh Steelers shirts than pink pussy hats and anti-Trump gear. But the audience members were just as energized as any other resistance gathering, realizing they have a viable Democratic congressional candidate for the first time in years.

“It’s been a very, very long time” since a crowd that big turned out for a Democrat in the district, said Joe Zupancic, a 48-year-old attorney running as a Democratic candidate for an open state House seat. The last time, he estimated, was “probably back in the ’90s, when this seat was Democrat to begin with.”

No one’s denying that Lamb has an uphill climb.

In a special election where low turnout is a given, however, the district’s higher-than-normal level of Democratic enthusiasm matters.

Add to the mix a Democratic candidate with a strong biography and a Republican candidate with a record at odds with the district’s influential labor unions, and it becomes clear why the national Republican Party is not taking any chances.

Earlier this month, the deep-pocketed Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC affiliated with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), announced the opening of a field office in the district. The operation will include 50 full-time door knockers who aim to make 250,000 voter contacts, the super PAC said.

Republican outside groups are also on the airwaves ahead of either candidate. Ending Spending Inc., a super PAC backed by the billionaire Ricketts family, made a $1 million ad buy in support of Saccone. And the pro-Trump 45Committee is spending $500,000 on ads, including a 30-second spot released last week that hits “Liberal Conor Lamb” for opposing Trump’s tax cut bill.

In addition, Vice President Mike Pence is slated to campaign for Saccone. The Republican National Committee has a permanent field office in Western Pennsylvania that is helping to turn out GOP voters, and the super PAC America Rising has been sending a video tracker to all of Lamb’s campaign events.

National Democratic groups, by contrast, are thus far largely limiting their support for Lamb to verbal praise for his bid. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect House Democrats, said it had no investments to announce at this time. And when asked about its involvement in the race, the Democratic National Committee referred HuffPost to its monthly $10,000 contribution to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party through the Every ZIP Code Counts program.

End Citizens United, a national liberal PAC, announced its endorsement of Lamb on Wednesday. The group raised $600,000 to elect Alabama Democrat Doug Jones to the Senate, but it is not clear how much it plans to spend on Lamb’s behalf.

The DCCC and DNC “have to kind of wait and see how much the Lamb team raises, because it is gonna be an expensive race,” said a Democratic source with knowledge of the national party’s considerations.

“It is not helpful for them for the party to be coming in and being so overt,” the source added.

It’s still possible to craft winning messages to win at least segments of the white working class that enables the party to do well everywhere. Mike Mikus, Democratic campaign consultant

The southwestern Pennsylvania district offers a unique proving ground for Democrats whose strongest electoral performances since November 2016 have largely been in districts Trump lost or won only narrowly. If Democrats flip the 18th, or even hold the GOP to a narrow margin, it will put Republicans on notice that no seat is immune to a Democratic midterm wave.

It is also liable to make the Democrats think twice about ignoring former Democratic strongholds in the Rust Belt where Trump outperformed his Republican predecessors.

“The problem with a lot of people in Washington is that they equate white working-class, non-college-educated voters as being racist Neanderthals and should be written off,” said Mike Mikus, a veteran Democratic strategist based in the district. “Obviously, the Democratic Party should never turn away from its values of inclusion and equality, but it’s still possible to craft winning messages to win at least segments of the white working class that enables the party to do well everywhere, rather than just the coastal elites, the big cities.”

The saga of declining Democratic fortunes in the industrial areas of Pennsylvania and other Great Lakes states is by now a familiar yarn. Deindustrialization weakened the labor unions that bound many working-class residents to the party, and Democrats’ increasingly progressive stances on racial and cultural issues created an opening for socially conservative Republican candidates.

Congressional Democrats held on for years in increasingly conservative districts by stressing kitchen-table economic issues and union bona fides, while bucking liberal orthodoxy on issues like guns, abortion and the environment. Mark Critz, the last Democratic House candidate to win in swathes of the current 18th District (before its borders were subsequently redrawn), ran in a May 2010 special election as an opponent of gun control and abortion rights, as well as the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.

Even as the 18th District’s voters have increasingly rejected Democrats in federal elections, the party has retained some power at the state and local levels. Democrats enjoy majorities on the county commissions in 3 in 4 counties in the district.

“The people in this district who voted for Trump do not view a ‘D’ by your name as a disqualifier,” Mikus said.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Lamb speaks to voters at the American Legion Post in Houston, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 13, 2017.

Picking ‘Somebody In The Middle’

Due to the rushed timeline for the special election, both Lamb and Saccone were selected by party officials and activists at their respective conventions, rather than in primaries.

Lamb nonetheless defeated six rivals for the post.

Allen Kukovich, who served as a Democratic state lawmaker from 1977 to 2004 and voted for Lamb at the party convention in November, said Lamb “struck me as somebody who was ready right now. And with the special election and the national exposure that this is likely to get, there is very limited time to grow into the job.” 

The district’s Democratic hands also opted for a candidate with unimpeachable patriotic credentials, deep roots in the district and relatively moderate policy stances ― criteria perhaps equally as important as preparedness.

“It’s important that the progressive Democrats understand this is a tough district to win,” said Nate Regotti, chief of staff to state Rep. Pam Snyder, a Democrat who represents a portion of the district on the West Virginia border. “They want somebody in the middle that’s gonna represent them no matter how they feel, and I think Conor Lamb’s gonna do that.”

Lamb, a native of Mt. Lebanon, an affluent suburb just south of Pittsburgh, is the scion of an Irish-Catholic Democratic family that has been influential in regional politics for generations. His grandfather, Thomas Lamb, served as the Democratic majority leader of the Pennsylvania state Senate.

Lamb is running on creating decent-paying jobs through a massive infrastructure bill, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and marshaling federal resources to address the opioid crisis that has ravaged many of the old mill towns southwest of Pittsburgh.

Although Lamb touts his experience tackling heroin and opiate trafficking as a federal prosecutor, he favors a health care driven approach to solving the epidemic.

Speaking to HuffPost, Lamb calmly rattled off proposals to secure federal funding for more rehabilitation facilities, longer rehab stays and medical treatment upon release.

He views these plans as a critical point of contrast with his rival Saccone, who voted for a state House budget that cut $10 million in funding for the life-saving opioid overdose drug Naloxone.

“You wanna talk about being pro-life? You don’t vote against a drug that saves people’s lives,” Lamb said.

Lamb also sees protecting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion as a key component in the fight against opiate abuse, since it is frequently the program that provides insurance for addicts. He would shore up the health care law’s private insurance exchanges through technocratic fixes like extending public reinsurance to participating insurers.

You wanna talk about being pro-life? You don’t vote against a drug that saves people’s lives. Conor Lamb

Although Lamb does not rule out more progressive reforms like the creation of a Medicaid or Medicare buy-in, he has concerns about the costs of expanding those programs. He supports empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

Saccone’s campaign declined HuffPost’s repeated requests to speak to the candidate or get more clarification on his policy positions.

But Saccone has said he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and his campaign website says that he “will utilize free-market principles to fix our healthcare crisis.” 

Saccone, an Iraq War veteran with a Ph.D. in international affairs and experience as an American diplomat in North Korea, has campaigned as an enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s agenda, saying he was ”Trump before Trump was Trump.”

The national Republican groups that have converged on Pennsylvania’s 18th District to buttress Saccone’s bid are meanwhile trying to portray Lamb as a liberal disciple of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). To preempt this critique, Lamb announced earlier this month that if elected, he would not vote for Pelosi as House Democratic leader.

“I know Conor Lamb is doing his very best to backpedal away from Nancy Pelosi,” Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told HuffPost. “But I don’t think he’s backpedaling fast enough to fool the people of the 18th District into thinking that he wouldn’t be a loyal foot soldier for Pelosi if he was ever elected.” 

Mike Theiler / Reuters
Rick Saccone attends the Conservative Political Action Conference with his wife Yong in February 2017. Democrats hope Saccone’s disagreements with labor unions prove to be a weakness.

Lamb is far from a doctrinaire liberal, though. He has staked out centrist positions on everything from coal ― which he told HuffPost “has an important place in our energy strategy” ― to gun policy, an area where he believes it is unnecessary to expand on the “laws on the books.”

Asked whether he backs any additional restrictions on abortion, however, Lamb, who has said that he is personally pro-life, firmly ruled out the idea.

“Once you make something a right, it’s a right. And it’s like that for a reason,” he said. 

Lamb also said he was open to working with Trump on crafting national security policy and passing an infrastructure bill.

“I’m not running against President Trump, and people in my district are not looking for someone running against President Trump,” Lamb said. “They want to know what the difference is between me and Rick Saccone, so that’s what we talk about.”

In his speech at Saturday’s American Legion event, Lamb eschewed discussion of policy ― let alone Trump ― in favor of a homily about military service and the local community.

But after a nearly five-minute riff on the importance of memorializing veterans, Lamb pivoted to argue that unionized workers deserved similar recognition for their service. He invoked as a model the churchyard memorial in nearby Castle Shannon for Philip Murray, the founder of the region’s mighty United Steelworkers union.

“In Western Pennsylvania, it’s no surprise that we put a statue of one of our great labor leaders right there in the churchyard for everyone to see, forever,” Lamb said.

Testing Organized Labor’s Clout

If Lamb pulls off an upset win, it will likely be on the back of organized labor.

About 19 percent of the residents in this steel- and coal-heavy district are either active or retired members of a labor union, according to Frank Snyder, the secretary-treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, the state’s largest labor federation, who introduced Lamb at the American Legion. That is significantly higher than the national rate of union membership, which was 10.7 percent in 2016.

Beyond financial contributions, labor provides a massive, organic field operation.

“The capacity … is having volunteer union members talking member to member at the workplace, at their homes, over the telephone,” Snyder said.

“Our election program is gonna focus on educating union members, not saying, ‘Conor Lamb’s the best,’” Snyder added. “We’re gonna compare the two candidates: This is where he is on education or Medicare or Medicaid, and then you decide.”

The United Steelworkers, which has about 20,000 active and retired members in the district, plan to contact every member before Election Day, said Tim Waters, the union’s national political director.

“The reaction that we’re getting right now is enthusiasm in a lot of ways at the same level that we saw in Alabama. And that was significant enthusiasm,” Waters said.

The reaction that we’re getting right now is enthusiasm in a lot of ways at the same level that we saw in Alabama. And that was significant enthusiasm. Tim Waters, United Steelworkers

Labor unions’ support for Lamb is as much a function of Saccone’s status as an opponent of union priorities as it is of the Democratic candidate’s strengths.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsed the GOP incumbent Murphy in the district. He was running uncontested, but labor didn’t have to back him. It did so, however, because Murphy maintained at least some pro-labor stances, including support for the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal building contractors to pay the “prevailing wage” and benefits in a given area. In practice, the law typically ensures that federal contracts use union labor.

Saccone, by contrast, co-sponsored legislation in Pennsylvania that would have curtailed the state’s prevailing wage law. In 2014, Saccone also picked up the endorsement of Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Work Committee, a group that seeks to make Pennsylvania a state where unions are forbidden from mandating the payment of dues from workers they represent.  

Steven Mazza, a council representative for the regional branch of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, which counts 1,800 members in the district, said Saccone’s record gives the union a compelling case to take to its members, including those who voted for Murphy or Trump.

“Part of the thing we have to do is tell our members that did support Murphy, it’s about supporting federal Davis-Bacon, and Saccone doesn’t,” Mazza said. “I don’t think we can get into the issue that [Saccone’s] a really bad person and [Lamb’s] a really great person.”

Mazza and other union officials fear that if Trump moves ahead with an infrastructure bill, fiscal conservatives in Congress will try to waive Davis-Bacon to bring down the cost. 

He also worries that Trump will give anti-union Republicans like the vice president a free hand to pass national right-to-work legislation now that higher priorities like tax reform are out of the way.

Such a law would “cut our jobs in half,” Mazza said.  

Lamb’s campaign has also sought to point out that Joe Ricketts, whose family funds the pro-Saccone Ending Spending super PAC, has a reputation for union-busting. Ricketts abruptly closed the DNAInfo and Gothamist news sites after employees at the New York offices voted to unionize.

Across the 18th District’s bedroom communities and industrial hamlets, many voters were only just becoming aware of the special election. Several residents knew little more than either Lamb or Saccone’s name.

But conversations with some Republican-leaning union members revealed that Saccone’s hostility to labor priorities could sway them to vote for Lamb. 

In a conversation at the McDonald’s in Burgettstown, Don Dowler, a 72-year-old retiree, described himself as a union member “all my life,” with stints in the United Steelworkers, as well as unions representing railroad and maintenance workers.

Dowler voted for Trump and is inclined to vote for the GOP nominee in the special election. He left open the possibility that an anti-labor Republican would be a bridge too far, however.

“That might affect me, yeah. It depends which way he goes,” Dowler said.

Aaron McKindley, 18, got a job at the Union Electric Steel plant down the road after graduating high school. A member of the United Steelworkers, he told HuffPost that he would have voted for Trump if he had been old enough.

But the prospect of an anti-union Republican candidate could convince McKindley to vote Democratic.

“I guess long-term, yeah, it would definitely affect me,” he concluded. “It’s like I said, I don’t vote on parties. I vote on individuals.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/conor-lamb-trump-special-election_us_5a5fd334e4b046f0811cd495

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Attention Pulitzer committee: Reporter ‘eats like Trump’ for a week for no discernible reason

We’d thought CNN and other mainstream media outlets had already done President Trump’s diet to death, what with stories about two scoops of ice cream and 12 Diet Cokes a day, not that anyone cared.

Apparently seeing a gap in coverage, Business Insider’s Dennis Green spent a week eating “foods that Trump has been photographed eating, has said in interviews that he eats, or has been reported to eat regularly.” Wasn’t this bit played out in 2004’s “Super Size Me”?

Read more: https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2018/01/10/attention-pulitzer-committee-reporter-eats-like-trump-for-a-week-for-no-discernible-reason/

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Michael Wolff wasnt with Trump on election night. Those who were prove his book wrong

A handful of people were in the kitchen at Trump Tower when Donald Trump found out that he was going to be president of the United States.  Among them were Donald Trump’s family, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, Dan Scavino, and Keith Schiller.

Michael Wolff was not there.  Steve Bannon was not there.  But I spoke to some of the individuals who were in that small kitchen for my book, The New American Revolution.

The accounts of those who were actually in the room with the soon-to-be-president expose the wildly off base if not outright fraudulent work of Michael Wolff, a journalist who self-proclaims as “unreliable.”

Wolff describes Trump’s reaction to becoming president this way, purportedly revealed to him by Steve Bannon: “a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump.”

But, as I mentioned, neither Wolff nor Bannon were in the room with Trump during that key moment.  Ivanka Trump was, and here’s what she told me as recounted in my book:

“When we realized my father would be president, all attention turned to what to communicate for the first time,” Ivanka added. The Trump campaign had prepared two speeches, an A version and B version, one a victory speech and the other a concession. This was widely reported that evening, but here is what was not reported. 

As the President-elect reflected on his first words to an attentive nation, he took notice of the images that came across his TV screen: half images of crying Clinton supporters contrasted with images of jubilant Trump voters. Reflecting on the sight of Clinton voters, Trump picked up the previously planned victory speech and ripped it up. The speech hit the elites and the establishment. It just wasn’t right for the moment. “I want to bring the people together. I want to speak to those people too,” Ivanka Trump remembered her father saying as he watched the distraught Clinton crowd and set the torn paper aside. “I see their pain.” 

Far from ringing in truth, the phony election night account provided by Michael Wolff is more suited for the fiction section – if not even better suited for the sleazy tabloids in the supermarket.

Not exactly the actions of a man who is “befuddled” or “horrified,” right?  No, these are the actions of a leader intent on speaking to the entirety of a country whose wellbeing he was now responsible for.

Wolff goes on to make the false claim that the Trump team did not think they would win coupled with the ludicrous claim that they had no desire to.  He writes this of the Trump family and campaign’s mood leading up to polls closing: “Their unexpected adventure would soon be over. Not only would Trump not be president, almost everyone in the campaign agreed, he should probably not be… The candidate and his top lieutenants believed they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behavior or their worldview one whit.”

Wrong again.  My conversations with Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and top campaign operatives Michael Glassner and Bill Stepien expose the inanity of Wolff’s claim. 

For starters, the Trump family was cautiously optimistic of a Trump victory.  “We all felt it,” Lara Trump told me, though the constant media narrative saying otherwise caused some nervousness.   As I write in my book, “Jared Kushner revealed that his data team predicted early that afternoon that Trump was going to win. ‘It was going to be a Rust Belt Brexit,’ he told me.”  When exit polls reflected a Trump loss, Bill Stepien, then-campaign national field director, “assured Jared that the campaign’s data would be more reflective of the actual results.”

Echoing Jared Kushner’s confidence, Michael Glassner, then-Deputy Campaign Manager, told me, “The mind-set of the status quo political class was that Trump would never win.  That was not the sense among his loyalists in the War Room that night.”

In short, those closest to Donald Trump did not expect to lose, as Wolff claims; rather, they were indeed optimistic.  And their nervousness amid a slew of negative media predictions that Trump would lose reflects a campaign team that, of course, wanted to win.

Far from ringing in truth, the phony election night account provided by Michael Wolff is more suited for the fiction section – if not even better suited for the sleazy tabloids in the supermarket.

Kayleigh McEnany is the author of the New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement.  She is the Republican National Committee’s National Spokesperson and a former CNN Commentator who received her JD from Harvard Law School. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/01/07/michael-wolff-wasn-t-with-trump-on-election-night-those-who-were-prove-his-book-wrong.html

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Finally, someone is developing an app you can use to make annoying people disappear

Image: screenshot/noshipu/twitter

If you’ve ever found yourself just wanting to disappear for a while, there may soon be an app for that. 

A Japanese developer has announced that he is working on an app that will make your head disappear in photos and videos, in a tweet first spotted by DesignTAXI

The developer, Kazuya Noshiro, CEO of game development company ViRD, shared a short video of his face (mostly) camouflaged into the backdrop of his kitchen. 

It’s still not perfect. The top and sides of Noshiro’s head are still visible, and there are little slits where his eyes and mouth should be, making him look more like he’s wearing a Spirited Away mask than an invisibility cloak. 

But the mask itself perfectly imitates the wall behind it, and smoothly adapts to the changing background as Noshiro moves his head. 

Noshiro told Twitter followers he made the app in Unity, a game development engine developed by Unity Technologies. 

There are a few ways you might be able to use this app, beyond its obvious purpose of making your own videos very creepy. You could use it to edit the faces of your least favorite actors out of movies. Or, you could “disappear” the faces of politicians you hate to make Presidential debates a more bearable experience. It’s unclear how versatile this app will be — but we hope the potential to eliminate those we despise is in there somewhere. 

And of course, the question of the hour: Who gets the app? Noshiro noted that he used the iPhone X to create the effect. It could be that the the TrueDepth camera, the only smartphone camera on the market with the necessary sensory technology to enable Animoji and FaceID, is necessary to power this function as well. If that’s the case, it might be exclusive to iPhone X users upon release. 

But when it comes to augmented reality, some Android phones are hot on Apple’s heels. Google in particular is taking AR very seriously: It recently released Star Wars AR stickers for the Pixel 2’s top-notch camera, and they look super realistic. So it’s not unthinkable that we may see this app, and others like it, on the Google Play Store soon enough. 

But for now, keep an eye on the App Store, and start brainstorming which politician you want to make disappear the most. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/27/app-makes-you-disappear/

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‘Forbidden fruit’ locked up as Tide Pods meme reaches epic proportions

You know a meme has gone too far when people start sharing images of Tide Pods locked up at their local store. 

Several retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, Ralph’s, and Food 4 Less have locked up Tide Pods in plastic blocks or behind glass doors, according to recent social media reports. The protective measure was noticed as the Tide Pods internet challenge and meme hit peak stupidity. 

While several people shared stories of the cleaning product being trapped in their grocery store’s version of a laundry aisle hoosegow on Monday, social media reports of such punishment stretch back to the beginning of January.

A manager at the Houston, Texas Walgreens pictured in the above tweet said over the phone that the Pods were secured in plastic boxes due to recent thefts. Other retailers, like Walmart and Kroger, also noted that thefts forced them to lock up the Tide Pods, but they did so prior to the internet hysteria. 

Tide Pods have caused a frenzy in recent weeks as teens dare each other to eat the toxic-filled plastic that looks like a colorful gusher. The pods have been dubbed “forbidden snacks” or “forbidden fruit” and videos of teens frying the soap-filled pouches or eating them raw have been circulating on YouTube and social media for weeks. Someone even made edible sushi shaped like the pods.

It’s gotten so bad that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the same government agency that recalled those fiery hoverboards, is pleading with the public to not eat laundry pods.

Eating the detergent can cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, and other very bad things. Tide Pods have been a concern for years, with parents being warned to keep the product out of reach of children who may mistake the poisonous cleaner for candy. But now people are willfully eating the packaged toxic goop. At least 10 deaths have been linked to detergent pods, according to CBS. Procter & Gamble, the makers of Tide, has warned against eating the pods since the government agency sounded the alarm. “They should not be played with,” the Tide manufacturer said in a statement to CBS. “Even if meant as a joke. Safety is no laughing matter.” 

Tide has even been running a PSA on social media featuring Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski sternly wagging his finger when asked if Tide Pods are OK to eat.

Here are some more witness accounts of the detergent prisons:

Update Jan. 15, 2018 at 9:20 p.m. PT:

A Procter & Gamble spokesperson said locking up Tide Pods was the stores’ choice: “Individual retailers decide how to shelve products, often making decisions on a store-by-store basis,” the spokesperson said in an email, adding, “We do know that some Tide products have been in secure shelving in some retailers prior to the recent social media conversations.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/15/tide-pods-meme-too-far-locked-up-in-stores/

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There’s never been a better time to be single

“Marriage is a healthy estate,” British physician William Farr wrote in 1858, in one of the first studies to conclude that married people were better off than their single counterparts. “The single individual is more likely to be wrecked on his voyage than the lives joined in matrimony.”

The ensuing decades have done little to dissuade social scientists of their certainty that single people were doing themselves a disservice. Until now. In 2017, it was that conviction that got wrecked.
    As a psychologist, I study single people — their lives, their happiness, the stigma they face — and I can say that 2017 was a banner year for the publication of massive studies challenging what we thought we knew about their supposedly inferior life voyages.
    New insights just kept coming: on sex and dating, on self-esteem, on what it means to be an adult. And they came just in time: In recent history, there have never been as many unmarried adults as there are right now.
    Here are a half dozen of the coolest discoveries about single people from the year 2017.

    Demographically, single people are more powerful than ever before.

    In 2017, the Census Bureau reported that a record number of adults in the U.S. were not married. More than 110 million residents were divorced or widowed or had always been single; that’s more than 45 percent of all Americans aged 18 or older. And people who did marry were taking longer than ever to get there.
    The median age of first marriage rose to 29.5 for men; for women, it reached 27.4. (These trends are likely to continue: A report from the Pew Research Center a few years ago predicted that by the time today’s young adults reach the age of 50, about one in four of them will have been single all their life.)
    Living alone is also becoming more popular. Last summer, the Canadian press was abuzz with the news that for the first time in the nation’s history, more people were living in one-person households than in any other arrangement. In the U.S., the number of people living without a spouse or partner rose to 42 percent last year, up from 39 percent a decade ago.
    Individualistic practices like living alone aren’t just Western phenomena — they’ve gone global. In analyses of a half-century of data (1960-2011) from 78 nations around the world, psychology researcher Henri C. Santos and his colleagues found that the popularity of such practices grew significantly for 83 percent of the countries with relevant data. Individualistic beliefs, like valuing friends more than family, have also been on the rise, increasing significantly for 79 percent of the nations across the five decades.

    Marriage is no longer considered a key part of adulthood.

    A half-century ago, Americans who had not yet married wouldn’t be considered real adults. That’s no longer the case.
    According to a 2017 Census Bureau report, more than half of the participants in a nationally representative sample (55 percent) said that getting married was not an important criterion for becoming an adult. The same percentage also said that having a child was not an important milestone of adulthood.
    More important now is completing formal schooling and having full-time employment; 95 percent said that each of those criteria was at least somewhat important.

    High-schoolers aren’t as into dating — or sex.

    In a study published last fall, psychologists Jean M. Twenge and Heejung Park analyzed four decades’ worth of data (1976-2016) on the sex and dating experiences of more than 8 million students in the ninth through twelfth grades. The percentage of teens who had ever been on a date was lowest in the most recent years of the study. And along the same lines, the percentage who had had sex was at an all-time low in recent years.

    Single people are having more sex than married people.

    Moving past the teens and on to people 18 and older, the same holds true: Adults are having less sex than they used to. Analyzing survey data collected from more than 26,000 people between 1989 and 2014, researchers found that the average person now has sex around nine fewer times per year than the average person in the early ’90s.
    But not all groups followed the same sexual trajectory — the drop was especially pronounced for the people who were married or divorced, compared to people who had always been single. In fact, according to one of several ways of looking at the data, singles are now having sex more often than married people are.
    And then there are people that aren’t having sex at all. The idea that there are some people who just do not experience sexual attraction has a more prominent place in our cultural consciousness today, something for which the the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), founded in 2001, gets much of the credit.
    By 2017, there was enough research on asexuality, including large-scale studies, to justify a review article in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Defying the early skepticism on the topic, authors Lori A. Brotto and Morag Yule concluded that asexuality is a unique sexual orientation, one that applies to up to 3 percent of adults, and not a sexual dysfunction or psychiatric disorder.

    A relationship doesn’t mean higher self-esteem …

    As teens shrug at the idea of dating and adults put off or skip marriage altogether, skeptics might wonder, aren’t they all missing out on that boost of self-esteem that comes from “having someone”?
    Not really. In a landmark study on the link between romantic relationships and self-esteem, researchers Eva C. Luciano and Ulrich Orth studied more than 9,000 adults in Germany as they entered or ended romantic relationships or stayed single. Their conclusion: “Beginning a relationship improves self-esteem if and only if the relationship is well-functioning, stable, and holds at least for a certain period (in the present research … one year or longer).”
    People who started new romantic relationships that failed to last a year ended up with lower self-esteem than the people who stayed single. There was nothing magical about marriage, either; people who married enjoyed no better self-esteem than those who stayed in romantic relationships without tying the knot.

    … and marriage doesn’t mean better health.

    Part of the mythology of marriage, long bolstered by the writings of social scientists, is that people who marry become healthier than they were when they were single. After all, the logic goes, married couples get all that loving support from each other, and they make sure their spouses are taking care of themselves. But three big methodologically sophisticated studies published in 2017 shook our faith in that idea.
    In one of the studies, researchers followed more than 79,000 U.S. women between the ages of 50 and 79 over a three-year period, tracking whether they got married (or started a serious relationship), stayed married, got divorced or separated, or stayed single. Author Randa Kutob and her colleagues also took repeated physical measurements of the women’s waist size, body-mass index, and blood pressure, and asked them about their smoking, drinking, exercise, and eating habits.
    With just one exception, every significant finding favored the women who either stayed single instead of marrying, or who got divorced instead of staying married. For example, the women who married gained more weight and drank more than those who stayed single.
    The women who divorced ate healthier, exercised more, and had smaller waists than the women who stayed married. (The one exception was that the women who divorced were more likely to start smoking than the women who stayed married.)
    In the second study, a 16-year survey of more than 11,000 Swiss men and women, the people who married reported slightly worse overall health than they had when they were single, even taking into account changes in health that often occur with age. And in the third study, sociologist Dmitry Tumin surveyed more than 12,000 adults in the U.S. who got married for the first time to see if they described their general health as better after they married or better when they were single.
    He broke down the data several ways: He examined men’s marriages separately from women’s; he conducted separate analyses of the marriages of people born in different decades; he evaluated marriages that lasted for different lengths of time.
    In all the scenarios he looked at, with one exception, the people who got married never reported being healthier. The exception was for the oldest women (born between 1955 and 1964) whose marriages lasted at least ten years, who considered themselves slightly healthier.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    It’s a powerful blow — one of many — against the notion that marriage is the ideal way to live. For a long time, we’ve accepted the idea that unless they hurry up and marry, single adults will stay sexless and unhappy until they die (and sooner, at that).
    But it seems single people don’t scare so easily anymore — in unprecedented numbers, they are going ahead and living their single lives, which are often healthier and more fulfilling than those of their coupled counterparts. In 2017, finally, the weight of the scientific evidence from the most sophisticated studies was on their side.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/05/health/single-people-partner/index.html

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    Landlord to 98-Year-old Veteran: Get Out

    This eviction will live in infamy.

    The landlord is The Black Veterans for Social Justice and on Jan. 4 they will be in Brooklyn Housing Court before Judge Marsha Sikowitz trying to evict James Blakely, a 98-year-old black U.S. Navy veteran of the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harborunless he pays rental arrears of $24,130.

    Blakely lives with his second wife Bonita in a studio apartment on Bergen Street in Bedford Stuyvesant that he claims was given to him rent free six years ago.

    In December of 1941 I got bombed by the Japanese, says Blakely, wearing his USS St. Louis hat in his apartment. This Christmas Im facing eviction by the Black Veterans for Social Justice. Boy oh boy, what a difference 76 years makes.

    Jingle bells.

    This might all be because the Black Veterans for Social Justice has signed a memorandum of contract to sell the rent-stabilized building to a white Manhattan developer who specializes in snatching up inner-city properties so that Bed Stuy can have more gentrification, even at the expense of a black American hero who survived Pearl Harbor, and who also served in combat aboard three different battleships in World War II in some of the fiercest battles in the Pacific theater.

    How did one of the last remaining Pearl Harbor veterans wind up in a war with Black Veterans for Social Justice?

    This all started six years ago when I was writing a newspaper column for the New York Daily News and I received an email tip from Phil Napoli, a history professor at Brooklyn College, who had written a wonderful book about Brooklyn Vietnam veterans called Bringing it All Back Home. Napoli told me he had received a tip that an African-American Pearl Harbor survivor was living in a trailer with no running water in a junkyard on Buffalo Ave. in Bedford Stuyvesant.

    I drove straight to the junkyard and walked past the crumpled cars, scrap metal, and old appliances to a rusted trailer in the rear where Rev. James Blakely, 92, invited me inside. A biography of Satchel Paige lay on the pillow of his little cot.

    Blakely proudly showed me all his military discharge papers, citations from Pearl Harbor, combat medals, and a record of his monthly military pension. Here before me was an American hero living in a junkyard, bathing with cold water from a bucket and a garden hose, reading about Satchel Paige on an avenue named for a symbolic American creature almost as endangered as veterans of Pearl Harbor.

    Blakely told me the Cliff Notes of his life that day, how he grew up in Arkansas where one day he stepped on a white mans foot by accident. It caused such a ruckus that I had two choices: Get lynched or run away and join the Navy, he said.

    He joined the Navy on Sept. 26, 1939, and wound up on the USS St. Louis, ending up anchored in Pearl Harbor. Hawaii was a lot better than Arkansas, Blakely said, adding that Hawaiian girls didnt care about the color of his skin even if the US Navy relegated all black sailors to segregated kitchen mess duty.

    Then on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Blakely was listening to the Ink Spots on the radio singing I Dont Want to Set the World on Fire, when sirens wailed and an officers command echoed across the ship, All hands on deck! This is not a drill!

    On deck Blakely saw the Japanese planes roar out of the blue Pacific horizon. Oh, Lord, they were so loud, Blakely remembers. Two bombs hit our ship, but the good Lord didnt let them explode. But he saw bombs detonate the USS Arizona in front of his ship, fellow sailors screaming and flying through the smoke and flames.

    Blakely served the rest of the war in fierce action across the Pacific Theater on the St. Louis, Relief and Andrew Jackson, receiving Navy combat stars and commendations in Iwo Jima, Lingayen Gulf, Guadalcanal, Coral Sea, Marshall Islands and Luzon, where his body was scorched and scarred by Japanese chemical smog.

    On Oct. 8, 1945, Blakely received an honorable discharge and a final US Navy paycheck of $87.51. He long-shored on the Brooklyn waterfront, became a janitor at NYU, and bought a house on Green Ave. in Brooklyn with a GI loan, the South Brooklyn Savings Bank holding the $7,000 mortgage for which he paid $51.90 a month. I lived in that house for fifty-nine-and-a-half years until 2006 when after my wife died. I am ashamed to say my grandson, my own blood, finagled the house from me, says Blakely.

    Blakely lived in his 2006 Mitsubishi for five years until muggers dragged him from it, beating the old vet in a carjacking. It was then that a local junkyard owner moved Blakely into the trailer without plumbing where I found him in 2012 reading about Satchel Paige, who was famous for saying, Dont look back. Something might be gaining on you.

    When I met James Blakely he didnt look back at the vile Jim Crow horrors of Arkansas, the shameful segregation of the US Navy during WWII, the horrific bombing of Pearl Harbor, the unspeakable carnage of WWII in the Pacific, and the betrayal of his own kin. When I met Rev. James Blakely he was a man with an optimistic smile stenciled to his happy face, an infectious laugh, a lifetime of stories and a soulful of gospel songs, a man who believed in hope and the future and America.

    I asked him what his hopes were.

    Id love to have a little place of my own with running water and a stove, said this veteran who survived a day that lives in infamy to wind up homeless in a junkyard.

    I wrote that column, with photos of a smiling James Blakely.

    And I was bombarded by readers offering Blakely an RV, an air conditioner, money, invitations to move him into their homes. Some offered affordable apartments. A successful artist offered to auction a painting in his honor. I also received an email from Caryn B. Resnick, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Dept. of the Aging:, Hi Mr. Hamill: As a result of your story there is a happy ending for Mr. Blakely. Our Case Management team at the Dept for the Aging intervened on his behalf. With the help of one of our contracted Case Management Agencies and the Black Veterans for Justice, he will be moving to Bergen Street, Brooklyn. He will be getting a home-delivered meal starting tomorrow. So far everything is moving very fast for the benefit of this hero.

    I visited Blakely when he jingled his new house keys, dancing across the polished floors. A representative from the Black Veterans for Social Justice was there, saying the apartment would be rent free for life for the 92-year-old vet.

    Boy, oh, boy, give me a home where the buffalo roam, Blakely said, laughing. I took a shower this morning and stayed in a long time, making the water hotter and hotter I had been washing in a five-gallon bucket warmed by the sun. Sometimes Id strip and hose myself down with cold water outside the trailer. Now I have a shower, a stove, a fridge, an air conditioner, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, closets, dresser, new bedding. Keys. Boy, oh, boy, its been a long time since I had keys to a place of my own.

    It was a beautiful moment, a city and an African American veterans organization taking care of a local hero who told me the only other thing he could ever hope for after serving in a segregated navy would be to shake the hand of the first black Commander in Chief, Barack Obama.

    That never happened.

    But the Black Veterans for Social Justice had extended its helping black hand to a fellow black vet.

    I returned to visit Rev. Blakely three years later on his 95th birthday, which he celebrated with his new wife, Bonita, and fellow African-American Pearl Harbor veteran, Clark E. Simmons, 93, who was aboard the USS Utah that terrible December morning. Simmons told me that he and Blakely were two of just five Pearl Harbor survivors left in New York and that they had been united by the Black Veterans for Social Justice.

    Simmons has since passed on.

    No one mentioned to me that day a single word about Rev. James Blakely being in arrears on his rent. Three years after he moved in, neither he nor his wife, Bonita, a nurse, had been served with any friendly reminders, lawyer letters, or eviction notices.

    No landlord ever goes three months, never mind three years, of rent arrears without filing an eviction.

    So I was shocked when the Blakelys contacted me recently, saying they were facing eviction by their landlord, The Black Veterans for Justice, who after six years wanted back rent of $24, 130 at $635.00 per month.

    The first notice actually came in Sept. 2016, says Coco Jolly, Blakelys attorney from Brooklyn Legal Services. We made a motion to dismiss, claiming Mr. Blakely had never signed a lease and was told the apartment was rent free. The case was basically postponed until October of 2017.

    In that time attorneys from the law firm of Cohen, Hurkin, Ehrenfeld, Pomerantz and Tennenbaum for Black Veterans for Social Justice submitted a lease to the court which they claim was for $778 a month but which was reduced to $635 because of the change in Blakelys Veterans Benefits.

    Jolly disputes the leases validity. First of all Mr. Blakely says he never signed that lease, and the signature does not look anything like his signature on many other documents we have seen, says Jolly. But they claim his rent went down when his income changed. But his veterans benefits increased after he was married and his wifes income also made their income higher so it makes no sense that the rent could go lower to $635. We are claiming that the lease was not made contemporaneous with occupation of the apartment. In addition, Jolly points out that the lease is for one year and there were never any renewals in six years.

    Looks to me like BVSJ figured the old salt would be pushing up daisies in a year. They sure didnt expect him to last another six years. But James Blakely is made of tough stuff and now he might be a fly in the ointment of the apartment building sale.

    Its up to the judge to determine if the lease passes the smell test.

    But the judge will certainly be taking into consideration a Memorandum of Contract dated May 31, 2017 concerning the building, in which Black Veterans for Social Justice agrees to sell the 12 apartment building to Michael Khodadadian, of Silver Rock Equities, LLC., which might as well be called Gentrification Equities LLC.

    The Silver Rock website says Michael Khodadadian is the founder and principal at Silverrock Equities LLC. He specializes in the acquisition of distressed and under-valued investment properties, the website says. Silver Rock lists rental apartments such as one on E. 59 St., East Flatbush for $1900, Section 8 ok. A building for sale on Chauncey St, in Bushwick, Jackie Gleasons old Honeymooners block, for $2.4 million.

    BANG! ZOOM!

    If Blakely is evicted, rental for his little apartment on Bergen St. will likewise go to the moon.

    A call to Khodadadian was not returned. But the head of the black veterans group did respond to a request for comment.

    When we first put Rev. Blakely into that apartment in 2012 and furnished it for him, it was a one-year rent free lease, says Wendy McClinton, president and CEO of Black Veterans for Social Justice, herself a military veteran. After that Mr. Blakely and his wife signed documents agreeing to pay rent. They have not. We submitted those documents to the courts.

    I was there the day Blakely moved into the apartment and it was my understanding that it was a rent-free apartment, period.

    My husband never signed any documents agreeing to pay rent after that, says Bonita Blakely. I certainly never signed anything. If they are saying that, it is just untrue, a lie. Our lawyer showed us the documents they submitted to the court and they do not even come close to matching my husbands signature. They are fraudulent.

    McClinton also claims that Rev. Blakely has an income of $5,000 a month and is only exploiting his status as a WWII Pearl Harbor veteran to live rent free, adding that other vets of Iraq and Afghanistan including single mothers suffering from PTSD and other ailments do pay rent.When asked if Mr. Blakelys eviction proceeding filed five years after he moved in had anything to do with the sale of the building to Khodadadian of Silverrock Equities she said, No, but I cant comment further on that.

    If the Black Veterans would drop this crazy arrears demand of $30,000 now and made the repairs we have asked for I would agree to pay rent going forward, says Bonita Blakely. Right now we cant cook or drink the water which runs brown from the tap. The toilet is hanging by a thread. Theres a loose board on the floor that my husband fell over already. They refuse to make repairs. What we need is a one-bedroom apartment with working plumbing and a new lease and then well move from the studio they gave to my husband rent-free and agree to pay rent. Otherwise we will see them in court.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/are-they-seriously-going-to-evict-a-98-year-old-survivor-of-pearl-harbor

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    The One Thing That Will Kill Your Marriage Quicker Than an Affair

    Our marriage was just over a year old. After another demanding week at work, neither of us wanted to get into it. And with changes going on in our families, we were both emotionally and mentally distracted. There was a high probability we would say things we didn’t mean and make matters worse.

    What was it about? I don’t even remember, to tell you the truth. But I do remember that we exchanged complaints, barely restraining the passion over the injustice we each believed we had suffered from each other.

    Both angry, both hurt, we walked into separate rooms and stewed on the facts of what felt like a derailed relationship. Our tendency in the conflict was to isolate because it was easier than trying to resolve it.

    We thought we wouldn’t have the marriage troubles others had. How naive of us to assume we had all the answers when we had barely even begun to understand the questions.

    What Really Poisons a Marriage?

    In that and many other times we walked away from conflict instead of talking through it, my wife and I fell prey to the secret enemy that hides in every marriage.

    No, it’s not you or your spouse: it’s unexpressed conflict.

    You can disagree on what color to paint the kitchen, the best school for your kids, and even about which church denomination or political party is best. Those disagreements may cause friction and some heated debates from time to time, but they won’t destroy your relationship if you don’t let them.

    Those unresolved conflicts can last as long as you’re both alive. You can agree to disagree and move on. But unexpressed conflict is a poison that slowly, secretly infiltrates every part of your relationship.

    Left untouched, unexpressed conflict will turn assumptions into accusations and accusations into evidence. It’s like rendering a verdict when the other person didn’t even know court was in session.

    Unexpressed conflict gets really practical, really personal, really fast.

    Tension built up day after day from unvoiced irritations will sour the good experiences your family wants to have. Failures to apologize and bury the hatchet will kill the mood; say goodbye to laughter and sex when one or both of you feel wronged or uncared for.

    When you allow your guilt about a mistake to grow into shame, you won’t even want to try to be a better spouse. Shame keeps spouses apart by telling the lie that you are bad, not just what you did was bad.

    That shame perpetuates itself because it operates like a prison. You don’t know the way out, and your spouse doesn’t help you find a way out, so you start to believe you really do deserve punishment because you’re a bad person.

    After You Recognize the Conflict

    It’s one thing to see conflict and know it’s there. Usually, it looks like stomping into another room, or seemingly eternal car rides home after blowing up at each other in front of friends. Almost everyone can see those social cues of conflict.

    What matters is how spouses express it to each other. The very act of expressing a misunderstanding, feeling or frustration with your spouse can actually create a stronger sense of togetherness that will help resolve the issue.

    As Brené Brown writes, “Giving and soliciting feedback is about learning and growth, and understanding who we are and how we respond to the people around us is the foundation in this process.”

    Once you recognize that there is unexpressed tension in your relationship, here are five practical ways to deal with it:

    1. Go First

    It takes bravery, maturity and a healthy dose of humility to speak up about the conflict before your spouse does. Yes, those among us who are non-confrontational will struggle with this, but it’s essential to confront in goodwill, for the good of the relationship. The sooner you address the conflict, the sooner you can cut off its power to harm the relationship (Proverbs 17:14).

    2. Admit Your Mistakes

    This is risky, but it’s one of the most powerful ways to disarm conflict in your marriage. No matter how embarrassing, admitting your mistakes is the beginning of relieving that tension.

    3. Speak Honestly

    In the words of the great modern relationship counselor, John Mayer, “Say what you need to say.” Don’t belittle or reason away what you sense is wrong. Unless both spouses kill assumptions and express what they’re really feeling or thinking, the conflict will continue to be a pain point in the relationship.

    4. Attack the Issue, Not Each Other

    Honest confessions and authentic apologies aren’t weapons to keep in your back pocket for a time when you’ll need to whip him back into shape, or keep her quiet about one of your weaknesses. An attack against one of you is a threat to both of you. Marriage isn’t about winning, but moving forward together.

    5. Cultivate Trust

    Don’t say you’ll change some habit and then make no effort to fix it. If you promise to do better next time, keep your word (and lean on God to help you change and grow).

    Without the oxygen of trust, the relationship will suffocate. Both of you can step toward each other in the security of your relationship if it’s built over time, through good times and bad. That trust is the scaffolding on which your relationship depends, especially in times of conflict.

    Working together, you can identify and defeat the secret enemy in your marriage.

    **This article originally appeared on RelevantMagazine.com and johnweirick.com. Republished with permission. Find more in John’s new book, The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices. Start reading for free at thevariablelife.com.

    Read more: https://faithit.com/one-thing-kill-marriage-quicker-affair-john-weirick/

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    Dress for the job you want, and in this case, it’s a chicken nugget taste-tester

    The British retailer B&M posted a job application recently to…wait for it…be a “chicken nugget connoisseur.”

    Cancel everything and buy a plane ticket for the next flight to Merseyside? I don’t know where that is, but I’m in.

    The experience listed on the application is the best part:

    Image: jobs.bmstores.co.uk

    I for one will vouch for curly fries over chips until my dying day.

    The catch? You’re only paid £25 (or about $34) per month. And it’s in vouchers to spend at B&M stores. But it’s fine. It’ll be fine!

    If you’re ready to make your dreams come true, you can apply here.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/17/chicken-nugget-taste-tester/

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    Hawaii officials mistakenly warn of inbound missile

    A push alert that warned of ballistic missile heading straight for Hawaii and sent residents into a full-blown panic Saturday was a mistake, state emergency officials said.

    The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphones shortly after 8 a.m, said in all caps, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

    Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Repoza said it was a false alarm and the agency is trying to determine what happened.

    The incident prompted defense agencies including the Pentagon and the U.S. Pacific Command to issue the same statement, that they had “detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii.”

    Michael Kucharek, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command are still trying to verify what happened in Hawaii — but that “NORAD did not see anything that indicated any sort of threat to Hawaii.”

    “From a NORAD perspective and that of the U.S. Northern Command, we are still trying to verify what happened,” he said of the false alert.

    NORAD is a U.S.-Canada joint command that conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning to defend North America. The U.S. Northern Command, also based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is tasked with air, land and sea defense of the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and portions of the Caribbean.

    The alert caused a tizzy on the island and across social media.

    At the PGA Tour event on Oahu, Waialae Country Club was largely empty and players were still a few hours from arriving. The tournament staff urged the media center to evacuate. “This is not a drill,” said Candice Kraughto, who runs the press operations for the Sony Open.

    A local radio show from the clubhouse, next to glass windows that overlook the Pacific, kept broadcasting. Staff members at the club streamed into the clubhouse and tried to seek cover in the locker room, which was filled with the players’ golf bags, but instead went into the kitchen.

    Several players took to Twitter.

    “Just woke up here in Hawaii to this lovely text. Somebody can verify this?” tweeted Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.

    Justin Thomas, the PGA Tour player of the year, tweeted, “To all that just received the warning along with me this morning … apparently it was a ‘mistake’?? hell of a mistake!! Haha glad to know we’ll all be safe.”

    Jaime Malapit, owner of a Honolulu hair salon, texted his clients that he was cancelling their appointments and was closing his shop for the day. He said he was still in bed when the phone started going off “like crazy.” He thought it was a tsunami warning at first.

    “I woke up and saw missile warning and thought no way. I thought ‘No, this is not happening today,‘” Malapit said.

    He was still “a little freaked out” and feeling paranoid even after hearing it was a false alarm.

    Richard Ing, a Honolulu attorney, was doing a construction project at home when his wife told him about the alert.

    He dug his phone out and had confirmed he had the same alert. Attempts to find further information on the television or radio didn’t provide further information, but then he saw on Twitter that it was a false alarm.

    While he was trying to confirm, his wife and children were preparing to evacuate in case they needed to move to safer ground.

    After finding out it was a mistake, Ing tried to find some humor in the situation.

    “I thought to myself, it must be someone’s last day at work or someone got extremely upset at a superior and basically did this as a practical joke,’ he said. “But I think it’s a very serious problem if it wasn’t that, or even it was, it shows that we have problems in the system that can cause major disruption and panic and anxiety among people in Hawaii.”

    Some were outraged that such an alert could go out in error.

    Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted the false alarm was “totally inexcusable” and was caused by human error.

    “There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process,” he wrote.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Caleb Jones in Honolulu, Doug Ferguson in Maui, Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Jim Anderson in Denver and Tom Strong in Washington contributed to this report.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/13/hawaii-officials-mistakenly-warn-inbound-missile.html

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