LBN – Special Report – Tuesday January 31, 2017

WOW! Senate Democrats Boycott Key Votes On 2 Top Trump Nominees: 

Senate Democrats deployed a dramatic eleventh-hour maneuver to deny committee votes to two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks Tuesday, arguing that those nominees had lied to them. Senators on the Finance Committee were set to vote on Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department. But on Tuesday morning, they simply didn’t show up for the votes, denying Republicans the quorum they needed to move forward toward confirmation. At least one Democrat needs to be present for the vote to happen.

‘BUMPY’ – Ryan Defends ‘Confusing’ Travel Ban:

In a press conference on Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryandefended President Trump’s refugee and immigration ban, while acknowledging the faults of the poorly-executed rollout. “We can be generous and watch our national security at the same time,” he said. “No one wanted to see people with green cards or special immigrant visas like translators get caught up in all of this. Regrettably, the rollout was confusing.” In a closed-door meeting earlier in the morning with other Republicans, Ryan reportedly called the implementation “bumpy” but reinforced his support of the overall policy.


Trump Fires Acting AG Who Defied Ban:

Just hours after Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Department of Justice not to defend President Donald Trump’s refugee ban, the Trump administration ousted her from office. Yates, an Obama appointee, was tasked with serving as attorney general from Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration until his own AG nominee was approved. On Monday evening, Yates announced that the DOJ would not defend Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries while she was in office. Hours later, the Trump administration issued a statement calling Yates “weak” and announcing Dana Boenteas her replacement.  “The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” read a statement by the Trump administration. “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country. Tonight President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as Acting Attorney General until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons.”

Flint Residents Seek $700 Million from EPA:

In a class-action lawsuit filed Monday, residents and property owners in the Flint area are seeking $700 million in damages from the Environmental Protection Agency over the city’s water crisis. According to the lawsuit, “despite notice of the danger as early as October 2014, the EPA failed to take the mandatory steps to determine that Michigan and Flint authorities were not taking appropriate action to protect the public from toxic water.” Earlier this month, the lead content in Flint’s water dropped below the federal limit, nearly two years after it was first discovered that lead from older pipes had leaked into the city’s water supply. Michigan state authorities have been charged with crimes relating to the water crisis and how the state handle.


LeBron James rips Charles Barkley’s dubious past in furious rant:

Following the Cavaliers’ disappointing 104-97 loss to the Mavericks on Monday evening, LeBron James vented his frustration to ESPN — targeting former basketball great and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who recently spoke out on LeBron’s remarks about needing “help.” Barkley called them“inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above. The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted.” James held nothing back in response, attacking Barkley’s past and present. “He’s a hater … What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?” James questioned. “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying. “All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that.”

Under Trump, Obama LGBT Protections Will Stay:

President Trump has decided to leave in place an order from the Obama administration in 2014 that provided new workplaceprotections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. According to the White House, Trump is proud to embrace gay rights and has no plans to reverse the order. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” a statement said. “The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.” Notably, Trump’s decision to leave the 2014 order in place does not preclude other executive orders that could harm gay rights.


$1 Million Raised to Rebuild Burned Texas Mosque:

A Texas mosque that was destroyed last weekend has received almost $1 million dollars in donations to help rebuild it. More than $950,000 has been raised on the Islamic Center of Victoria’s GoFundMe page. “Our faith in humanity has been rekindled again,” the mosque said in a Facebook post. “The thousands of messages, prayers, and donations from all over the globe have been phenomenal.” The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but crews responded to the fire about 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. The mosque had been a “target of hatred” in a 2013 vandalism attack.

Not Safe for Children? Football’s Leaders Make Drastic Changes to Youth Game: 

USA Football, the national governing body for amateur football, intends to introduce a drastically altered youth football game in response to declining participation and increasing public beliefthat the game is not safe for children to play. The organization has created a new format that brings the game closer to flag football and tries to avoid much of the violence in the current version. Among the rule changes: Each team will have six to nine players on the field, instead of 11; the field will be far smaller; kickoffs and punts will be eliminated; and players will start each play in a crouching position instead of in a three-point stance. “The issue is participation has dropped, and there’s concern among parents about when is the right age to start playing tackle, if at all,” said Mark Murphy, the president of the Green Bay Packers and a board member at USA Football.

LBN-NOTICED:   ***Selena Gomez and The Weeknd have taken their romance abroad! The new couple was spotted in Italy this weekend and appeared unable to keep their hands off each other as they traveled throughout Venice on their romantic getaway. They jetted off late last week—sometime after their fun-filled date at a Los Angeles arcade—and were spotted on Friday in Florence visiting Michelangelo’s statue of David at Accademia Gallery Museum. They stopped at Trattoria Borgo Antico for dinner later that night.   ***Octavia Spencer at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., while in town to receive Harvard’s Hasty Pudding award.   ***Usher, Aaron Paul and Gene Simmons seeing Arrogate beat rival thoroughbred California Chrome at the Pegasus World Invitational in Florida.   ***Kevin Bacon eating bacon at the Applegate’s stand at Sundance.   ***Courtney Lovechecking out Jake and Dinos Chapman’s “To Live and Think Like Pigs,” at UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles.   ***George Clooney and wife Amal dining at Craig’s in LA.   ***Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, had another high-profile public dinner on Friday night. Abedin was spotted at Indochine with fashion designer pal Prabal Gurung.

WHO READS LBN?  Author Viet Thanh Nguyen:

LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***A Chinese-born billionaire who has forged financial ties with some of the country’s most powerful families was taken by the Chinese police from his apartment at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong late last week and spirited across the border, a person close to the businessman said on Tuesday. The billionaire, Xiao Jianhua, who has been missing since Friday, is in police custody in China, where he apparently is safe, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest. Mr. Xiao is a Canadian citizen with an Antiguan diplomatic passport, though he was born in China.   ***It’s no secret that Starbucks Corp.’sHoward Schultz will step down from the top job a wealthy man. What’s surprising is how wealthy. Schultz, 63, has received compensation worth about $172 million since he began his second stint as the coffee retailer’s chief executive officer in January 2008, according to the company’s regulatory filings. A closer look, however, reveals an even bigger haul. Schultz, who’s set to step down as CEO in April, received most of his compensation in equity, which varies with Starbucks’ share performance. Since he led the company to a sixfold stock improvement, Schultz’s total payday for the last nine years: $553.3 million.

LBN-MEDIA INSIDER:   ***Oprah Winfrey will join CBS’ 60 Minutes as a special contributor starting this fall, it was announced Tuesday.

LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: He used to get higher than a 10-foot rim. Former NBA journeyman Stephen Jackson recently admitted he occasionally smoked marijuana before games. “I just gotta be real, you know it’s been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games,” Jackson said onMichael Rapaport’s podcast, “I Am Rapaport.”

LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media. Their position was at least comprehensible: How many times in a lifetime does your party control all levers of power? When that happens you’re willing to tolerate a little Trumpian circus behavior in order to get things done. But if the last 10 days have made anything clear, it’s this: The Republican Fausts are in an untenable position. The deal they’ve struck with the devil comes at too high a price. It really will cost them their soul. In the first place, the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration. Trump insulted both parties equally in his Inaugural Address. The Bannonites are utterly crushing the Republican regulars when it comes to actual policy making.


LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Three cheers for Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh! The couple welcomed triplets in January, Pharrell’s rep confirmed to Vanity Fair Tuesday. The rep did not provide the babies’ names or sexes, but told E! News, “The family is healthy and happy.” Married since 2013, Pharrell and Helen are also parents to son Rocket Williams, 8.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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