Axe believes its new ad will make you rethink macho stereotypes

Is it OK to be a virgin? Is it OK to experiment with other guys? Is it OK to be the little spoon in bed?

These are just some of the questions that men ask themselves — and Google — when no one is looking, according to a new ad from Axe that aims to help “break the cycle of toxic masculinity.” 

Don’t spit out your coffee just yet. Yes, this is the same Axe that once relished running ads portraying adult women as slaves to their senses and casting men as lonely losers — until, that is, they doused themselves in Axe body spray, at which point the ladies came running. 

Not anymore. The new “Is It OK for Guys?” spot is the latest installment of Axe’s “Find Your Magic” campaign, which launched last year by urging men to ditch macho stereotypes and embrace a more enlightened version of masculinity instead.

Now, Axe wants its customers to know they’re not alone in questioning the emotional straightjacket that is traditional manhood. 

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“What we wanted to do is show … that there is this habit of guys going online in the privacy of their own home asking all these questions,” says Rik Strubel, global vice president for Axe.

Axe is probably the last brand you’d expect to make this pivot. Yet, its unlikely trajectory from peddling sexist messages for profit to becoming a woke critic of machismo — also for profit — holds valuable lessons for the rest of us struggling to prevent, contain, and reverse the damage of toxic masculinity. 

If Axe can take a hard look in the mirror and decide to change its retrograde ways, perhaps that unlikely transformation will inspire men skeptical of overhauling their own concept of what it means to be a man. Still, a woke advertising campaign is just that — a glossy vision of social change that might give you the feels, but ultimately can’t destroy thousand-year-old ideas that are enjoying a resurgence in the form of Donald Trump’s strongman act.

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Toxic masculinity is a popular phrase in academic and activist circles, but it’s not that hard to spot in pop culture if you know the signs. Consider Trump its prideful mascot: a man who can’t stand that one of his top surrogates is mocked by a woman on Saturday Night Live, tosses off suggestions about killing the families of terrorists, says nothing when crowds of people chant “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton, and bullies anyone who questions his authority, even a Gold Star dad. 

Toxic masculinity is what happens when traits traditionally associated with male identity — strength, stoicism, aggression — are put into overdrive, often in pursuit of personal or professional power. While it might be appealing to Trump and some of his supporters, hyper-masculine doesn’t sell like it once did in the consumer marketplace, and Axe knows that. 

“What we’re seeing now is that society has changed and marketing has to change,” says Strubel. “It was time for the brand to move on.” 

“What we’re seeing now is that society has changed and marketing has to change. It was time for the brand to move on.” 

Indeed. Axe’s parent company Unilever, which also owns the body positivity-obsessed brand Dove, announced last year that it would root out sexist stereotypes from all of its campaigns. Axe is also building partnerships with three different nonprofit organizations — Promundo, The Representation Project, and Ditch the Label — that fight harmful gender stereotypes. 

Later this year, those groups will coordinate to seed the internet with content optimized to reach men with resources when they Google questions about concerns like mental health issues or bullying. Axe will do something similar for men who turn to the internet with shame-filled questions about grooming. It’s a savvy play to win new customers, but also speaks to the homophobia men can experience when they start using grooming products.

Axe won’t stand for that anymore, and it’s telling customers they shouldn’t either. 

That’s a great start to dismantling macho attitudes, but last year’s presidential campaign proved that toxic masculinity is still alive, well, and even wins at the voting booth.  

“It’s very, very difficult for any sort of campaign to overtake and overpower the ideological force of toxic masculinity, which is coming from the most powerful pulpit in this country,” says Ibram Kendi, an assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida and author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

And then there’s Axe’s rallying cry: Damn the critics and be yourself. That’s an effective line for personal empowerment, but it also gives consumers the warm glow of feeling like they’re champions of equality without having to do much work understanding the many ways in which society condones or rejects a man’s expression of masculinity based on his race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

What we need to understand, says Kendi, is the way bigotries intersect to create a “massive hierarchy” among men. So Axe can successfully raise awareness about toxic masculinity, but sympathetic consumers still might not insist on every man’s liberation from damaging stereotypes if it means they can keep their place in the pecking order.

Getting to the heart of that struggle is much harder than producing a provocative 30-second or minute-long commercial that goes viral.  

Over the past year, however, not every battle was lost. Public pressure on Fox News to fire accused sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly — another epitome of toxic masculinity with his violent, racist on-air outbursts and father-knows-best politics — led to his dismissal last month. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is finally being forced to account and atone for a hostile management style that contributed to internal sexual harassment claims and potentially illegal business tactics.  

Meanwhile, there are promising examples of what masculinity can be when not constrained by antiquated ideas. When a crying Jimmy Kimmel devoted a recent monologue to the diagnosis and treatment of his newborn son’s unexpected congenital heart defect, he acted like a normal human being with perfectly reasonable emotions — and drew awareness to both a life-threatening medical condition and the political battle over health care reform. 

“It’s not our dad’s manhood anymore. There’s a lot more acceptance.” 

The second season of Aziz Ansari‘s Netflix series Master of None is a revelation of masculine vulnerability. Ansari’s character Dev may be heartbroken and lonely, but he doesn’t need to conquer other women to feel better about himself. Instead, he seeks connection with someone he can call his equal. Dev’s friendship with a character named Arnold is an exploration of male affection; they tend to each other’s feelings without a second thought. 

Examples like these, contrasted with daily exercises in toxic masculinity from Trump and his enablers, hint at a culture wrestling with its own identity. 

“It’s not our dad’s manhood anymore,” says Gary Barker, president and CEO of Promundo, a nonprofit organization that engages men and boys in gender equality. “There’s a lot more acceptance … but the other side of that, that tough guy manhood, that is frighteningly alive as well.”  

That split is clear in research recently published by Promundo and Axe. Roughly a quarter of male American survey respondents said men shouldn’t have to do household chores and should, if necessary, use violence to get respect. Those ratios are still too high, but feel less apocalyptic than the percentage of American men who believed, for example, that guys should be breadwinners and should know where his wife or girlfriend is at all times (44 and 46 percent, respectively).  

Barker and Strubel know a lot of hard work remains to shift the way men think about their masculinity, and that’s why they’re continuing to track their evolving views through research. But Barker is optimistic about Axe’s unexpected contribution to these efforts. As just one front in the sprawling fight to break down toxic masculinity, an advertising campaign that has the potential to reach millions isn’t a small thing. 

Plus, Barker believes the fact that Axe sought redemption for its past sins is actually a selling point. 

“I think they’ve got a dramatic story,” he says of the brand. “If they can do it … man in the White House, here’s your chance, too. Look, you can turn the page, and it’s a happy place to be.” 

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Calvin Harris records song with Taylor Swift’s long-time rival Katy Perry

Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift and Katy PerryGETTY

ENEMIES: Calvin Harris announced he had recorded a song with Katy Perry

Last week Taylor’s ex Calvin Harris announced he had recorded a song with her long-time rival Katy Perry.

Now I can reveal that same track features another guest who had a beef with the Shake It Off Star, Nicki Minaj.

The trio will unveil the single, titled Soft Lips, after Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards in the US.

An insider told me: “Nicki and Katy Perry have already been teasing Soft Lips on social media. Although lyrically the song is not obviously about Taylor, it’s no coincidence that these three artists have come together.

“They have all had high-profile run-ins in with Taylor and it won’t have gone unnoticed by her.”

Katy PerryGETTY

FEUD: Taylor’s fall-out with KP is of course legendary

“Nicki and Katy Perry have already been teasing Soft Lips on social media”

Insider

All they need now is a guest rap from Kanye West to make it the ultimate diss track.

Soft Lips will undoubtedly be seen as revenge for past bust-ups.

Taylor’s fall-out with KP is of course legendary and rumoured to have inspired her diss-song Bad Blood.

Then last year Calvin was none too pleased when she ended their relationship, revealed secrets about a song they made and got together with Tom Hiddleston.

Minaj’s beef with the country pop star dates back to 2015 when they got into a Twitter spat over the MTV nominations not including black artists.

Mid spat, the rapper blew Katy Perry a supportive kiss suggesting she was on Team KP.

More recently they were thought to have made up but then Minaj appeared to mock Taylor when she amassed more Billboard hits than her.

Taylor is doing a good job of rising above the melodrama.

She is currently keeping a low profile while recording her new album in Nashville, and is expected to be launching a comeback in the autumn.

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Irish belle Una Healy blames Ed Sheeran for making Galway a crazy place to be now.

The Saturdays star turned solo artist can’t escape Sheeran’s hit Galway Girl, saying: “It’s really big over in Ireland.

“My dad is from Galway actually, and lots of my cousins, so there’s a lot of weddings with first dances to Galway Girl and a lot of Galway girls being serenaded with Ed’s song. It’s done so well but it’s totally in his nature, with his grandparents being Irish.”

Una has shot a new video for her song Battlelines at London’s Bush Hall.

She told me: “It’s a song about the ups and downs of a relationship, the fights and making up.”

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Harry Styles is getting his very own edition of Carpool Karaoke.

Fans will get to hear just how good he is at singing 1D classics without the other boys later this week.

And they will also witness another dodgy shirt! It’s all part of a weeklong residency on James Corden’s US TV show where, as usual, Harry gave nothing away.

He coughed and looked away when Corden grilled him about his on-off relationship with Kendall Jenner.

Meanwhile, poor old Kendall fell flat on her face during a casual bike ride.

Sister Khloe filmed the model going ass-over-t*t.

Harry’s still refusing to admit their love affair must have hit her hard…

Harry StylesGETTY

STAR: Harry Styles is getting his very own edition of Carpool Karaoke

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Lorde secretly wants to be Stevie Nicks – the Kiwi is such a fan of the Fleetwood Mac star she hunts for clothes “Nicks would wear”.

She quipped: “She wraps my heart in soft fabric. Isn’t she just beautiful?” Lorde revealed she was afraid new album Melodrama would not live up to her debut.

She explained: “There was a real hit of, like: ‘I just don’t have another one. It could never be good enough.’”

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Luis Fonsi is shocked Justin Bieber rapped in Spanish on his song.

The Puerto Rican said: “I didn’t even know he was doing it. There was a line in English but he sang in Spanish instead – so now everyone can learn Spanish!”

Luis says his album drops in November with some big collabs: “My dream would be Stevie Wonder.”

Luis FonsiGETTY

ARTIST: Luis Fonsi is shocked Justin Bieber rapped in Spanish on his song

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After a few pop duds is Lady Gaga already preparing for a new career as a mechanic?

The star stepped out in a pair of workmen overalls, customised to suit her unique taste.

Your local Kwik Fit fitters wouldn’t be seen dead with the off-the-shoulder look.

Mother Monster was enjoying a break from shooting her new movie A Star is Born.

Maybe she could change the oil in my car while she’s at it.

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Gone are the nipple pasties and in comes the double denim for Miley Cyrus.

The Malibu star rocks her new look and blames daddy Billy Ray Cyrus for her bad-girl past.

The former child actress said: “I didn’t get a school escape like most people. I went to work with my dad – that was really hard, every day from like 11 to 18. Which is why, when I turned 18, I had to break free.”

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Rocker Brian Johnson is Back In Black.

The AC/DC singer, who quit touring because of hearing issues, joined Paul Rodgers on stage in Oxford this week.

Johnson covered Barrett Strong’s Money (That’s What I Want) with Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant.

The Geordie was told to stop performing following a “series of examinations by leading physicians in the field of hearing loss”.

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Israel was source of secret intelligence that Trump gave the…


Published 12:18 pm, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — The classified intelligence that President Donald Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former U.S. official familiar with how the United States obtained the information. The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.

Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East.

Israeli officials would not confirm that they were the source of the information that Trump shared. In a statement emailed to The New York Times, Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the United States, reaffirmed that the two countries would maintain a close counterterrorism relationship.

“Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Dermer said.


In the meeting with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, Trump disclosed intelligence about an Islamic State group terrorist plot. At least some of the details that the United States has about the plot came from the Israelis, the officials said.

The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Israel previously had urged the United States to be careful about the handling of the intelligence that Trump discussed.

Trump said Tuesday on Twitter that he had an “absolute right” to share information in the interest of fighting terrorism and called it a “very, very successful meeting” in a brief appearance later Tuesday at the White House alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster,Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters that he was not concerned that information sharing among intelligence partners would stop.

“What the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he’s engaged,” McMaster said at a White House briefing, seeking to play down the sensitivity of the information Trump disclosed.

McMaster added that the president, who he said was unaware of the source of the information, made a spur-of-the-moment decision to tell the Russians what he knew.

But McMaster also appeared to acknowledge that Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, had called the CIA and the National Security Agency after the meeting with the Russian officials. Other officials have said that the spy agencies were contacted to help contain the damage from the leak to the Russians.

McMaster would not confirm that Bossert made the calls but suggested that if he did, he was acting “maybe from an overabundance of caution.”

“I have not talked to Mr. Bossert about that, about why he reached out,” McMaster said.

Former officials said it was not uncommon for presidents to unintentionally say too much in meetings and said that in administrations from both parties, staff members typically established bright lines for their bosses to avoid crossing before such meetings.

Israel’s concerns about the Trump White House’s handling of classified information were foreshadowed in the Israeli news media earlier this year. Newspapers there reported in January that U.S. officials warned their Israeli counterparts to be careful about what they told the Trump administration because it could be leaked to the Russians, given Trump’s openness toward President Vladimir Putin.

“The Russians have the widest intelligence collection mechanism in the world outside of our own. They can put together a good picture with just a few details,” said John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the CIA who served in Moscow in the 1990s and later ran the CIA’s Russia program for three years. “They can marry President Trump’s comments with their own intelligence, and intelligence from their allies. They can also deploy additional resources to find out details.”

The episode could have far-reaching consequences, Democrats warned. Any country that shares intelligence with U.S. officials “could decide it can’t trust the United States with information, or worse, that it can’t trust the president of the United States with information,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“I have to hope that someone will counsel the president about just what it means to protect closely held information and why this is so dangerous, ultimately, to our national security,” Schiff said at a policy conference in Washington sponsored by the Center for American Progress, a liberal group.

eNCA | LA Reid leaves label after sexual harassment allegations

NEW YORK – L.A. Reid, one of the music world’s top executives who helped launch the careers of myriad stars including Rihanna and Justin Bieber, has left Epic Records after reported harassment allegations.

The 60-year-old has been chairman and CEO since 2011 of Epic, a unit of Sony Music that has been home to some of the top artists in recent decades from Michael Jackson to Pearl Jam.

Sony Music late last week issued an unusually terse statement of just one line: “L.A. Reid will be leaving the company.”

The company offered no further comment. But reports Monday in music magazine Billboard and The New York Post said that Sony management terminated Reid after complaints of sexual harassment.



The New York Post, citing an unnamed source, said a female assistant told management of inappropriate remarks and physical advances by Reid including asking her to hug him in bed during a business trip.

A lawyer for Reid declined comment. Reid on Twitter quoted novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

Reid is considered one of music’s top tastemakers and last year released a memoir that recounted a who’s who of famous artists with whom he has worked.

Reid, who formerly headed labels Arista and Def Jam, became known in the late 1980s for producing a smooth pop sound for African American artists and jumpstarted the careers of TLC, Toni Braxton and Usher.

READ: Bill Cosby breaks his silence

But his influence stretched across genres and he was famous for instinctively sensing who would become massive.

He signed Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne, R&B superstar Rihanna and, more recently, pop singer Meghan Trainor after hearing them audition briefly for him.

He also inked a contract with a teenage Justin Bieber and worked with Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez to revive their careers after their initial fame waned.

While mostly behind the scenes, British television viewers saw him for two seasons as a judge on singing contest The X Factor, an experience he later decried as lowering his artistic bar.

Reid’s exit marks a strikingly swift move after Sony endured public criticism for declining to respect singer Kesha’s requests to exit a contract.

Kesha has sued producer Dr. Luke, accusing him of raping her and tormenting her psychologically. He denies the charges and says she remains contractually bound to his Kemosabe Records, a Sony imprint.

AFP

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Lawmaker Running For Jeff Sessions’ Old Seat Is Obsessed With ‘War On Whites’

WASHINGTON ― For 20 years, Alabama was represented in the Senate by an outspoken immigration hardliner who made racially charged statements.

Now that man is the attorney general of the United States, and a like-minded Republican, who has accused Democrats of waging a “war on whites,” is vying for his seat.

History has a way of repeating itself.  

Rep. Mo Brooks (R) announced Monday that he will run in a special election for the Senate seat currently filled by Sen. Luther Strange (R). Strange was appointed by Alabama’s governor after then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) was confirmed to lead the Department of Justice.  

Brooks, who was first elected to Congress in the 2010 tea party wave, is an anti-political correctness, pro-deportation conservative in the mold of Sessions and President Donald Trump.

His appeal will be tested on Aug. 15, when Alabama will hold its primary elections, and potentially in a GOP primary runoff on Sept. 26. Strange, who has remained relatively quiet during his time in the Senate, is also running with the support of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

In a deeply red state that overwhelming supported Trump, Democrats aren’t expected to come anywhere close to flipping the seat in the Dec. 12 general election. Like Trump’s remarks, however, Brooks’ incendiary comments on race, immigration and voter fraud are sure to enrage those on the left and possibly put the GOP’s acceptance of right fringe elements under the microscope.

Here are some of Brooks’ most outrageous statements.

On the “War on Whites”

One of Brooks’ repeated refrains over the years has been that Democrats are waging a “war on whites” and dividing people based on race ― in effect, that by mentioning racism, they are the real racists.

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” he said in August 2014.

Brooks hasn’t dropped that claim in the years since. Earlier this year, he brought up the “war on whites” to defend Sessions when the senator was being considered for attorney general.

“It’s really about political power and racial division and what I’ve referred to on occasion as the ‘war on whites.’ They are trying to motivate the African-American vote to vote-bloc for Democrats by using every ‘Republican is a racist’ tool that they can envision,” Brooks said on WBHP 800 Alabama radio. “Even if they have to lie about it.”

On the Racial Divisiveness of Barack Obama

Along the same vein, Brooks has pronounced the nation’s first black president the most “racially divisive” since the Civil War. He had admitted that pro-slavery presidents were worse in that regard.

“He’s clearly the most racially divisive president we’ve had since I’ve been alive,” Brooks said in January 2016. “But, again, we did have presidents in the first 80 to 100 years of our country that supported slavery, and you cannot say that Barack Obama was worse than them.”

On Americans With Pre-existing Conditions

Earlier this month, Brooks tried to promote the GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but ended up creating even more fodder for angry constituents. Brooks said the fact that those with pre-existing conditions would have to pay higher premiums under the Republican plan wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It would just mean that healthy people who “have done the things to keep their bodies healthy … who have done things the right way” would have lower premiums, the congressman said.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Mo Brooks suggested the limited aid given Syrian refugees was the equivalent of a “paid vacation.”

On Doing “Anything Short of Shooting” Undocumented Immigrants

Brooks supports ramping up deportations and driving out undocumented immigrants in almost any way possible ― seriously, almost any way.

“As your congressman on the House floor, I will do anything short of shooting them,” he said of undocumented immigrants in 2011. “Anything that is lawful, it needs to be done because illegal aliens need to quit taking jobs from American citizens.”

Along with blaming undocumented immigrants for committing crimes and costing taxpayers money, he said in 2015 that they might be the cause of a measles outbreak.

On Throwing Obama in Jail

Brooks suggested in 2014 that then-President Obama could be impeached or even imprisoned for his soon-to-be-announced executive actions on immigration.

“At some point, you have to evaluate whether the president’s conduct aids or abets, encourages or entices foreigners to unlawfully cross into the United States of America,” Brooks said. “That has a five-year in-jail penalty associated with it.”

On Syrian Refugees’ “Paid Vacation”

Brooks, like Trump, opposes welcoming any of the millions of Syrian refugees driven from their homes by war. He was dismissive of their struggles in a 2015 interview, in which he criticized the United States’ already limited support for newly resettled refugees.

“I’m one of these folks that think we need to stop paying these folks to come here. And we’re paying them about $15,000 a year in free health care, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation,” Brooks said. “That answers very quickly why so many of them want to come to the United States of America. We’re paying them to come here. It’s a paid vacation!”

On Muslims Trying to “Kill Every Homosexual”

Last year, Brooks accused Democrats of hypocrisy in reaching out to both the Muslim and LGBTQ communities, saying the former wanted to murder the latter.

“On the one hand, they’re trying to appeal to the gay community, but on the other hand, they’re trying to also appeal to the Muslim community ― which, if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America,” Brooks said.

On Immigration Changing the Voter Pool

When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was running for speaker of the House in 2015, Brooks wanted Ryan to promise to pursue greater restrictions on immigration in exchange for his support. He said immigration would change the electorate ― as in, make it less white.

“Immigration is far and away the most important problem facing America because it changes the voter pool, thereby controlling the outcome of every single public policy challenge America faces,” Brooks told Talking Points Memo.

On Dishonorable Trump’s “Gutter-Mouth” Tendencies

Brooks initially did not support Trump for president, in part because of the businessman’s repeated infidelity, he said in February 2016. He described the future president as a flip-flopper who lacked honor.

“It’s not necessarily the sexual act itself; it’s the honor,” Brooks said of Trump’s “serial adultery.” “I want someone in the White House who is honorable. I believe honesty, integrity and honor are important attributes for president of the United States.”

Brooks also said Trump had “gutter-mouth tendencies” that he wouldn’t want children to hear from the White House.

The congressman eventually voiced support for Trump, although not enthusiastically. A month before the election, he said he would vote for the Republican nominee and that Trump was better than Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Conservative New Miss USA Rejects Feminism, Says Healthcare Is Not a Right

A new Miss USA was crowned on Sunday night on FOX, but it wasn’t without some political controversy.

Miss District of Columbia Kara McCullough won the title, much to the chagrin of liberals who didn’t like her conservative answers in the question rounds. Her thought crimes? Saying health care is a privilege, not a right, and rejecting man-hating feminism in favor of equal opportunity.

The Miss USA pageant was hosted by Julianne Hough and Terrence J, and Julianne served up the question about affordable health care to Miss DC, who is a scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

Julianne: District of Columbia, you’re up. Do you think affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege and why? 

Miss DC: I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege. As a government employee, I am granted health care, and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have a job. Therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunities to have health care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.

Rejecting the liberal mantra that health care is a human right and wanting to cultivate an economic environment that gives job opportunities to all Americans? The horror!

The last question given to each of the three finalists was about the meaning of feminism and Miss DC became even more of a heretic for rejecting “die hard” feminism that doesn’t care about men, aka today’s radical left-wing feminism. And she must have given feminazis conniptions when she said that women and men were equal in the workplace. As for the other two, Miss Minnesota gave a weird answer about feminism being about any gender and Miss New Jersey gave an answer that liberals loved, ranting about the “fight for equality” and creating an “equal world.”

Terrence: What do you consider feminism to be, and do you consider yourself a feminist? 

Julianne: Yes, you do. Absolutely you get a microphone. Here you go. 

Miss DC: As a woman scientist in the government, I would like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism. I don’t really want to consider myself — try not to consider myself like this die hard, you know, like, oh, I don’t really care about men, but one thing I want to say, though, women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace. 

And I say firsthand I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences as well as in the office environment, so as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that kind of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide. 

 Terrence: Thank you, District of Columbia. 

Julianne: All right. Please remove Minnesota’s headphones. Minnesota, please join us. What do you consider feminism to be, and do you consider yourself a feminist? 

Miss MN: Modern day feminism is not only about supporting other women. It is about being any gender in this entire country, in this world and not being afraid to lift those up around you. It is about being unapologetically yourself. In this pageant we have incredible representatives of what it means to be a woman, whether they’re on this stage, hosting this pageant with us, or judging the contestants on this stage. 

Julianne: Thank you, Minnesota. 

Terrence: Please remove New Jersey’s headphones. New Jersey, please join us. What do you consider feminism to be, and do you consider yourself a feminist? 

Miss NJ: Feminism is striving for equality, and I do consider myself a feminist. I think it’s a misconception when people believe that feminism is women being better than men, but it’s really not. It’s a fight for equality, and we need to realize that if we want a stable society, a better future for every single individual, we need to be equal, and that’s why I advocate for education for women because women are still held back in places of the world. They still don’t have that right to their independence, that right to their equality all because of education, and once we do take that step, I believe that an equal world will be a better world. Thank you. 

Needless to say, liberals were very upset that a smart, beautiful African-American woman took home the crown, because she espoused conservative views.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Here’s hoping the new Miss USA sticks to her guns and doesn’t come out with a statement tomorrow “clarifying” her answers and reading liberal talking points after all the leftist outrage.

Last wishes: What people most want in their final months

AFTER his stroke Maria’s father could no longer speak. But with his daughter reciting the words next to him, he could still pray. His final days brought a lot of pain but Maria believes that at the end, as he clasped her hand, he was at peace. When she thinks about her own priorities for her death, “being at peace spiritually” is top of the list.

It is a sentiment shared by fellow Brazilians, according to a survey conducted jointly by The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation, an American non-profit focused on health. Fully 88% thought that being at peace spiritually at the end was “extremely” or “very important” (see chart). In America and Japan not burdening families with the costs of care was the highest-ranked priority, cited as extremely important by 54% and 59% respectively. (The Japanese may be worrying about the cost of funerals, which can easily reach ¥3m, or $27,000.) A third of Italians emphasised having loved ones around them. Brazil was the only country where more people said they would put extending life ahead of reducing pain and stress than the other way around.

Religion accounts for some of these differences. There are more Catholics in Brazil than any other country. Many have presumably been influenced by their church’s long insistence that life should be extended whenever possible, even by heroic measures. In court battles in America and elsewhere, when families have sought to have feeding tubes removed from relatives who are in a persistent vegetative state, the church has often been opposed (though it now condemns only active measures to hasten death, rather than patients’ decisions to reject treatment, or death that is hastened by pain relief). Eighty-three per cent of Brazilians said that religion played a “major role” in their thinking about end-of-life care, against 50% of people in America and 46% in Italy.

In Japan, just 13% said that religion played a major role in their thinking. In other surveys most Japanese report that they are atheists or have no formal religious affiliation. But the idea of “spiritual peace” is nonetheless important in Japan—it is ranked second for what matters close to death.

The relative weights people place on extending life, and easing death, are also shaped by the quality of care available, and perceptions of what they will personally receive. Ninety per cent of Brazilians rated their health-care system as “fair/poor”, compared with 54-61% in the other three countries. Though their constitution guarantees comprehensive, free health care for all, it falls far short of that ideal. Even before a crippling recession that has already lasted three years, care was often precarious. More recently, cash-strapped hospitals in big cities, including Rio de Janeiro, have seen patients die in corridors.

In America, Italy and Japan people with degrees were most likely to say that too much emphasis is placed on extending life towards its end, as opposed to alleviating suffering. Better-educated people were also more likely to say patients and families should play a bigger role in decisions about end-of-life care.

Almost half of black Americans, and nearly as many Latinos, said that health care placed too little emphasis on preventing death, compared with just 28% of white Americans. Other research has found that minorities are more likely to die in hospital than white Americans. Richer Americans are more likely to die at home or in a hospice than those on lower incomes. All of which suggests a bitter irony: those who most need hospital care may receive it only when it is too late.

The Latest: Trump defends sharing information with Russians


Updated 5:38 am, Tuesday, May 16, 2017


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the report that President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials (all times EDT):

8:25 a.m.

A senior German lawmaker has expressed concern about reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials.

Burkhard Lischka said in a statement to The Associated Press that “if it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters that would be highly worrying.”

Lischka, who sits on the German parliament’s intelligence oversight committee, noted that Trump has access to “exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism.”

The Social Democratic Party lawmaker said that if the U.S. president “passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world.”

Germany is heavily dependent on U.S. intelligence.

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8:25 a.m.

The Kremlin has dismissed reports that Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials last week as “complete nonsense.”

The Washington Post‘s report on Monday claimed that the revelation made by Trump during his meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed the reports as “yet more nonsense” and said that Moscow doesn’t “want to have to do anything with it,” adding that “there is nothing to confirm or deny.”

___

7:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is using Twitter to defend his sharing of information with the Russians.

Trump says he wanted to share with Russia “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.” He notes that as president, he has an “absolute right” to do this.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged highly classified “code-word” information that could enable the Russians to trace the source of the intelligence.

Trump added a line in his tweet suggesting why he did it: “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

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6:40 a.m.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman has denied reports that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to senior officials during the Russian minister’s visit to the Oval Office last week.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that the revelation put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, on Facebook on Tuesday described the reports as “yet another fake.”

The reports came several days after the White House faced criticism for a possible security breach after it allowed a Russian news service photographer into the Oval Office to snap photos of Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week.

—Associated Press reporter Paisley Dodds in London.

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4:30 a.m.

Jordan says King Abdullah II is to speak by phone Tuesday with President Donald Trump.

The Royal Court says arrangements for the call were made last week.

The conversation will take place amid a report by The Washington Post that Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials at a meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence about the Islamic State extremist group at risk.

Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against Islamic State, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

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3:30 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won’t comment on a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russian officials, or say whether the report will affect Australia’s intelligence-sharing agreement with the U.S.

Australia is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing program with the U.S., Canada, Britain and New Zealand.

Turnbull declined to comment specifically on the report, but said during an interview Tuesday with Adelaide radio station 5AA that he is confident in the Australia-U.S. alliance. Turnbull called it “the bedrock of our national security.”

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee said in a statement that the report was rejected by senior U.S. officials. Brownlee said a resolution to the situation in Syria requires a concerted effort from the U.S. and Russia. Brownlee said he hopes the meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov “is a step towards that.”

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3:13 a.m.

President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, The Washington Post reported.

The disclosure late Monday drew strong condemnation from Democrats and a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers. White House officials denounced the report, saying the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russians, though officials did not deny that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting.

H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, said: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

Legendary music boss Reid out amid harassment reports

NEW YORK: L.A. Reid, one of the music world’s top executives who helped launch the careers of myriad stars including Rihanna and Justin Bieber, has left Epic Records after reported harassment allegations.

The 60-year-old has been chairman and CEO since 2011 of Epic, a unit of Sony Music that has been home to some of the top artists in recent decades from Michael Jackson to Pearl Jam.

Sony Music late last week issued an unusually terse statement of just one line: “L.A. Reid will be leaving the company.”

The company offered no further comment. But reports Monday in music magazine Billboard and The New York Post said that Sony management terminated Reid after complaints of sexual harassment.

The New York Post, citing an unnamed source, said a female assistant told management of inappropriate remarks and physical advances by Reid including asking her to hug him in bed during a business trip.

A lawyer for Reid did not return a message seeking comment Monday. Reid on Twitter quoted novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

Reid is considered one of music’s top tastemakers and last year released a memoir that recounted a who’s who of famous artists with whom he has worked.

Reid, who formerly headed labels Arista and Def Jam, became known in the late 1980s for producing a smooth pop sound for African American artists and jumpstarted the careers of TLC, Toni Braxton and Usher.

But his influence stretched across genres and he was famous for instinctively sensing who would become massive.

He signed Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne, R&B superstar Rihanna and, more recently, pop singer Meghan Trainor after hearing them audition briefly for him.

He also inked a contract with a teenage Justin Bieber and worked with Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez to revive their careers after their initial fame waned.

While mostly behind the scenes, British television viewers saw him for two seasons as a judge on singing contest “The X Factor,” an experience he later decried as lowering his artistic bar.

Reid’s exit marks a strikingly swift move after Sony endured public criticism for declining to respect singer Kesha’s requests to exit a contract.

Kesha has sued producer Dr. Luke, accusing him of raping her and tormenting her psychologically. He denies the charges and says she remains contractually bound to his Kemosabe Records, a Sony imprint. — AFP

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‘Silva’ gives good July Value in preparation for Betting World 1900


Vodacom Durban July watchers will be on tenterhooks throughout this week in the build up to one of the most important pointers to the big race, the R400,000, Grade 2 Betting World 1900 which will be run on Friday night at Greyville.

The 1900 is one of the Champions Season D-Days for horses who are on the borderline of July qualification.

It’s My Turn, picture Liesl King




Justin Snaith has the topweight It’s My Turn, who finished fourth in the July last year. However, he was only in 18th place on the first July log, so will need to run a big race either here or in another qualifier like the Cup Trial.

Snaith’s other 1900 pair, Elusive Silva and Prince of Wales, put in excellent SA Champions Season pipe openers in the Listed Sledgehammer handicap over 1800m. Elusive Silva showed showed a magnificent turn of foot to win easing up and is now joint-second on the July boards at 8/1. He only has a 99 merit rating, but was in 16th place on the July log.

The winner of the 1900 can only get a maximum of a six point merit rated raise, so he looks likely to be one of the best weighted horses in the July. Prince Of Wales gave Elusive Silva 3kg in the Sledgehammer and ran on strongly to be beaten only two lengths. Snaith said he had come on tremendously for the run, so he still represents good July value at 33/1. Prince Of Wales and Elusive Silva have landed plum draws on Friday night.

Last year’s July-winning trainer Joey Ramsden has a fascinating runner in Macduff. He is merit rated only 89 and finished way back in the Sun Met, but he had some good 1800m form behind Whisky Baron before that. He won his only previous start at Greyville. That was in the Listed Darley Arabian over 1600m on the poly, where he showed a good turn of foot, He is as effective on turf and has a plum draw on Friday night.

National Champion trainer Sean Tarry runs the tough old front-running veteran Serissa, who should ensure a decent pace. He also runs five-year-old Hyaku and the three-year-olds Tilbury Fort and Copper Pot. Copper Pot has a good turn of foot, but has been found wanting in features to date. Tilbury Fort finished a good 2.8 length third in the Gauteng Guineas, but was way back in the Grade 1 SA Classic, where he might not have enjoyed the going, as he should stay the 1900m trip.

Geoff Woodruff’s Master Switch has come into his own this season, so should do better in this race than he did last year. His stablemate Go Direct has also come into his own in the typical manner of a four-year-old by Go Deputy and is a dark horse. Both of Woodruff runners have wide draws.

Three-time July-winning trainer Dean Kannemeyer runs Mr Winsome, who is a typically improving son of Silvano, but must prove he is as good against out of province horses as he is against the locals.

Gavin van Zyl runs the long-striding but continually disappointing Rocketball. He has dropped to a 95 merit rating and showed some signs of revival last time.

Four-time July-winning trainer Mike de Kock runs Jubilee Line, who is yet to live up to the regard he is held in, but ran a good race in a 2000m handicap last week.

Duncan Howells runs Ten Gun Salute, who was in last year’s July and has been said to have come on a lot from gelding.

Glen Kotzen runs Banner Hill who proved himself more than just a stayer when easily winning his Champions Season pipe opener over 1800m on the Greyville turf.

2017 Vodacom Durban July ante-post betting guide [as at 12:53pm May 15]:

13/2 Marinaresco, Al Sahem; 7/1 Elusive Silva; 14/1 Heavenly Blue; 15/1 Black Arthur, Saratoga Dancer; 16/1 Horizon, Edict Of Nantes; 18/1 Its My Turn; 20/1 Pagoda, Hat Puntano #; 25/1 Copper Force, Africa Rising, Captain America, Krambambuli, Zodiac Ruler; 28/1 Brazuca, The Conglomerate, Deo Juvente; 33/1 Prince Of Wales, French Navy, Master Switch; 35/1 Bela-Bela, Master Sabina, Nightingale; 40/1 Orchid Island, Secret Captain; 50/1 Liege, Banner Hill; 66/1 Nebula; 80/1 Ten Gun Salute, Bi Pot, Silver Mountain; 100/1 Safe Harbour, Witchcraft, Girl On The Run, Smiling Blue Eyes, Trophy Wife; 150/1 Jubilee Line, Tilbury Fort, Macduff, Bold Viking; 250/1 Royal Badge, Copper Pot; 300/1 The Elmo Effect, Rocketball, Fort Meyers.

Odds courtesy of www.trackandball.co.za and subject to change

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