Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) grew increasingly agitated and testy on Sunday morning when ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos repeatedly pressed him to acknowledge that the 2020 presidential election wasn’t stolen—something Paul refused to do.
Stephanopoulos immediately kicked off Sunday’s This Week interview with Paul by asking him a “threshold” question about the results of the election, wondering aloud if he accepted that President Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate and “not stolen,” something former President Donald Trump and his allies have baselessly insisted and which eventually resulted in an insurrectionist riot.
“Well, what I would say is that the debate over whether or not there was fraud should occur, we never had any presentation in court,” the Kentucky lawmaker deflected. “Most of the cases were thrown out for lack of standing, a procedural way of not hearing it.”
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Queen congratulates Biden, but meeting dashed by coronavirus
As Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency drifts into history, Buckingham Palace confirmed this week that the queen had called Joe Biden to offer him her congratulations prior to Biden’s inauguration. Its exact contents, as always with HM’s private conversations, are a mystery and shall remain so.
Last year was a significant one for diversification in the beauty industry. In the wake of national civil rights protests, corporations were called out for their lack of diversity, both behind the scenes and in terms of how they cast advertising campaigns.
As a result, brands have begun making a conscious effort to include more Black people in their campaigns and hire Black people behind the scenes as well. Many Black beauty industry professionals felt that this change was a long time coming and beyond overdue.
While many Black beauty industry professionals are still skeptical over whether they are just being treated like a trend, diversity advocates are now calling out the beauty industry for racism’s ugly cousin: colorism.
Trump’s presidency was bad for sex workers. SESTA/FOSTA erased the platforms we used to schedule and screen clients. ICE agents joined police officers to use “anti-trafficking” rhetoric to justify their militarization and expanded surveillance. Sex workers were among a long list of people excluded from government relief as we were targeted, shadowbanned, and barred from doing web-based work. And earlier this month white supremacist militia groups and conspiracy theorists weaponized an old story about sex slavery to help justify an attempted coup. It’s been a very scary four years for all of us and I wish I believed that the nightmare would be over soon.
But as a history nerd and host of The Oldest Profession Podcast, I’m worried that we are set up to repeat the harsh lessons of history and to again conflate harsh criminal penalties with justice, and sex work with trafficking.
On Jan. 25, 1917, sex workers in San Francisco marched to the Central Methodist Church to meet with Rev. Paul Smith, who had organized a campaign to rid and protect the city from vice. This was the first sex worker-led protest in the U.S.
People who find themselves in criminal circumstances often behave unwisely, if not outright irrationally. Yet it’s rare to see individuals respond to calamity quite as stupidly as they do in The Sister, a four-part British series debuting Jan. 22 on Hulu.
Written by Luther creator Neil Cross (based on his novel Burial) and directed by Niall MacCormick, The Sister wastes no time laying out its scenario. Within its first five minutes, a series of quick incidents from 2013 and the present reveal that Nathan (Years and Years’ Russell Tovey) and his acquaintance Bob (Bertie Carvel) were involved in the mysterious death of Elise (Simone Ashley) on New Year’s Eve 2009, and that Nathan subsequently opted not to commit suicide but, rather, to assuage his guilt by marrying Elise’s real-estate agent sister Holly (Amrita Acharia). Nathan and Bob’s cover-up of Elise’s death, however, is now being ruined by a developer’s plans to dig up the woods where they buried the young woman’s body, which forces Bob to show up on Nathan’s doorstep asking for help with relocating Elise’s remains—an encounter that also clues Bob in to Nathan’s bonkers marriage.
Nathan’s decision to woo Holly, the grieving sibling of the woman he interred in the middle of nowhere, is recounted in intermittent flashbacks, although none of those scenes successfully sell his nonsensical course of action as believable. By marrying Holly, who decorates their home with pictures of her sister, Nathan has chosen to atone for his sins by facing and immersing himself in them on a daily basis, for the rest of his life, which seems like the opposite of basic human nature. Moreover, it’s reckless from a legal standpoint, since it keeps him intimately close to the only people who’d be interested in catching him. No matter how you look at it, it’s just plain asinine, which means that Nathan is immediately cast as not only a potential fiend, but a moron.
Harry Vanderspeigle, the hero of Syfy’s newest comedy, Resident Alien, is a totally normal guy. The local doctor for the tiny, sleepy town of Patience, Colorado, he likes to spend his time fishing and going for treks out on the nearby frozen slopes, and watching Law & Order re-runs.
There’s just one catch: He’s actually an alien on a mission to kill all of humanity. He’s fishing for the corpse of the actual Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, which accidentally fell into the lake after Alien Harry murdered him to assume his likeness. He hikes mountains because he needs to find his spaceship, which crash-landed before he could drop his murderous payload. And the Law & Order re-runs are actually his study materials; after all, what better way to learn normal human behavior than by mimicking Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston?
Alan Tudyk’s delightfully idiosyncratic repertoire makes him one of the only actors on Earth one can imagine pulling off such a role—and, indeed, he makes a whole meal out of it across the seven episodes made available to critics before Syfy premieres the show on Jan. 27.
Fred Hampton was the 21-year-old chief of staff and national spokesperson for the Black Panther Party when, on the morning of Dec. 4, 1969, Chicago police broke into his apartment and murdered him. Hampton was considered a charismatic danger by the Chicago PD and the FBI, a successful organizer whose leadership of the militant group constituted a threat to society. He had to go.
For author David Walker, Fred Hampton’s murder 50 years ago was not ancient history, but a totally relevant story he had to write about. “Fred Hampton was a story I wanted to tell so badly, but to tell that story without contextualizing it would be a mistake,” says Walker, who, along with illustrator Marcus Anderson, is the creative force behind The Black Panther Party, a beautifully conceived and sobering graphic novel tracing the history of this doomed, but influential, group.
“Especially in the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the BLM protests and the response by law enforcement, that has opened the eyes of people who didn’t have their eyes opened before,” adds Walker, “and everything the Panthers fought about and talked about, is happening right now. We’ve been building towards this for a very long time in our society.”
Abraham Lincoln had been prominently mentioned in the invocation and the opening remarks and the inaugural address at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden earlier in the day down in Washington, D.C.
Now, as night gathered in Brooklyn, I passed along a row of small signs reading “vaccine entrance” affixed to the cast iron fence outside Abraham Lincoln High School at the edge of Coney Island, in a zip code where the COVID-19 positivity test rate was 17.53 percent over the previous week, almost double the city average.
Many people in the neighborhood could tell you that Lincoln High is the alma mater of Arthur Miller and Mel Brooks and Neil Diamond and Joseph Heller and Herbie Mann and Stephon Marbury. But few likely know that it was a particularly appropriate location for one of the city’s community COVID-19 vaccination hubs because Lincoln had fallen ill with another deadly virus on the train back from delivering the Gettysburg Address. The president’s physician had ordered the immediate inoculation of the White House staff for smallpox, but that came too late for Lincoln’s valet, who had pressed a wet towel to the president’s forehead on the train. The valet was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with a tombstone identifying him as “William Johnson, Citizen.”
Among the legions of people the world over heartened by the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House, we can surely count Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Hassan Rouhani, the supreme leader and president of Iran, respectively. Iran and the United States, close allies from the ’50s through the late ’70s, have been engaged in an undeclared, low-intensity war since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, seized more than 50 American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and declared the United States to be the “Great Satan.”
Back in 2018, Trump vowed to wage a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran “to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activities across the Middle East.” He withdrew the United States from the nuclear accord widely known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and imposed a welter of sanctions against the Iranian regime in the hopes of forcing it into signing a new agreement with more stringent restrictions on its nuclear program and its destabilizing policies in the Middle East.
There are times in the history of a nation that are watershed moments, events after which the nation will never be the same again. These moments grab the national psyche and shake it, rattle it—leaving an indelible stain behind. A national trauma. Sadly, there have been too many of these moments in the last decade: from the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, or the congregants of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, or the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
The riot and storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 (which, as of writing, has left five dead) was not a specifically racially motivated attack on people (although the mob included those who betrayed their true intention with Confederate flags) but, rather, a politically motivated attack on democracy. It took what was a schism in our society and turned it into a chasm—and if we cannot learn to bridge that chasm, will lead to further division, violence, and the real potential of civil war.it