*FBI: Gunman Acted Alone in GOP Baseball Shooting
The gunman who opened fire last week on Republican congressmen at a northern Virginia baseball field acted alone during the attack, the FBI announced on Wednesday. Officials also said the gunman, later identified as James Hodgkinson, did not have ties to terrorism. He was killed in the shooting. The attack wounded five people, including top House RepublicanSteve Scalise. The majority whip was gravely wounded and remains hospitalized in serious condition after undergoing several surgeries.
*Taylor Swift’s Songs Made $400K Since Returning to Streaming Sites
Taylor Swift’s music has generated $400,000 in revenue since her catalog returned to streaming sites on June 8. Swift removed her music from Spotify, Amazon, Tidal, and Pandora in 2014 after coming out against online streaming services in a statement that said “artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy.” Swift and Spotify clashed over ad-sponsored streaming and Swift feared streaming would hurt the album’s physical sales. Now, Swift says she returned to the sites in celebration of selling over 10 million 1989 copies.
*CIA ‘Torture’ Architects Had Reservations, but Methods ‘Worked’
In a newly disclosed deposition, the psychologists who designed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA on terrorism suspects say they were at times unsure about the morality of the George W. Bush-era program but ultimately believed it to be effective. John Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell are known by CIA officials as the architects of the program, but both have disputed that designation. “I think any normal, conscionable man would have to consider carefully doing something like this,” Jessen said in the video deposition. “I deliberated with great, soulful torment about this, and obviously I concluded that it could be done safely or I wouldn’t have done it.” Jessen and Mitchell are defendants in a federal lawsuit filed in Spokane, Washington, by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of former prisoners, in order to hold participants accountable for inflicting the techniques.
*Saudi King Names Son Crown Prince, Upending Royal Succession
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has named his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, as crown prince and ousted the kingdom’s counterterrorism czar, upending the line of royal succession. The changes were announced by the state-run Saudi Press Agency early Wednesday, with a slew of royal decrees unveiling a major reshuffling. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who had been first in line to take the throne, was stripped of his title and ousted from his post as interior minister. The new crown prince, who is already in charge of overseeing a large portfolio as defense minister and heads an economic council, was not very well known before his father became king in January 2015. His quick rise to power since then has reportedly left some in the royal family blindsided.
*Travis Kalanick Resigns as Uber CEO
Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber after shareholders of the ride-hailing service demanded his ouster, The New York Times reports. Investors reportedly delivered a letter to Kalanick on Tuesday titled “Moving Uber Forward” in which they demanded an immediate change in leadership. Kalanick, who helped found the company in 2009, will remain on the board of directors but has agreed to resign as CEO. “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” he said in a statement. The shakeup comes after a turbulent year for Uber, with the company hit by sexual-harassment allegations and a federal inquiry into its use of software to allegedly sidestep law enforcement.
*Media Expert Says Pass the Valium: U.S. Anxiety Levels Climb Faster than Rest of the World:
Anxiety levels of Americans over matters such as war, terrorism, hacking and identity theft have spiked in recent years, leaving the nation near average in a global barometer of perceptions of security, according to media expert and authorMichael Levine (www.MichaelLevineMedia.com). Concerns about war and terrorism topped the list of matters gnawing at Americans, according to Levine, but viruses and hacking, bank-card fraud and identity theft also stoke insecurity. “This represents a significantly change as America traditionally felt more secure than the rest of the world,” noted Levine.
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Never mind the hike. Where’s the hammock? A new poll about summer travel finds that the No. 1 thing Americans want to do on vacation is … nothing. Almost three-fourths of Americans say resting and relaxing is very or extremely important to them when they go on vacation, according to the survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
*CAA Study: Diverse Casting Increases Box-Office Results
A study commissioned by top Hollywood talent shop Creative Artists Agency found that films with a more diverse cast financially outperformed releases for less diverse films. The new data, compiled from the study of 413 theatrical films released between January 2014 and December 2016, will be announced during a private leadership conference Wednesday. The study reports the average opening weekend for a film that brings in a diverse audience—which researchers suggest is the result of having a diverse cast—is nearly three times that of the average for a film with non-diverse audiences. The study notes that films with a cast made up of at least 30 percent non-white actors outperformed the release of films that were not “truly diverse.”
People are Dropping $25,000 to get Anal Botox:
There’s a buttload of money in anal rejuvenation. Just ask Dr. Evan Goldstein, a Manhattan surgeon who has pioneered the practice of making buttholes beautiful and more sexually compatible through Botox, tightening and loosening procedures. “It’s kind of crazy. I did not think I would be playing with ass all day, that is for sure,” Goldstein told Moneyish. As a gay man, Goldstein, who began his medical career as a cardiothoracic surgeon, wondered how he could help his community. He noticed that most doctors performing anal surgery were treating hemorrhoids or cancer but “were not looking at the anus as cosmetic or sexually functional,” he said. So he opened his Bespoke Surgical practice on East 12th Street in 2010, where he offers medical services to treat hemorrhoids, skin tags and fissures, as well as cosmetic procedures like Botox, dilating and tightening services, that run from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the severity of the case.
*WHO READ LBN? Mario Schlosser, C.E.O. of Oscar Insurance.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Hire Surrogate for Third Child:
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are expanding their family. The parents of North West and Saint West want to have a third child, so they’ve hired a surrogate, People reports. After welcoming Saint, Kardashian spoke candidly on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” about wanting a third baby, but doctors had diagnosed the E! reality star with placenta accreta, which meant a third pregnancy would pose an extremely high risk. Placenta accreta is when the placenta grows in the wall of the womb, making it difficult to detach during birth.
*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: ***Boris Becker was declared bankrupt by a British court on Wednesday after the former tennis player failed to pay a long-standing debt. A lawyer for the six-time Grand Slam champion pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar in London for a last chance to pay a debt that Becker has owed to private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co. since 2015. The registrar, Christine Derrett, said there was a lack of credible evidence that his debt would be paid soon. She refused to adjourn the case for a further 28 days and announced a bankruptcy order.
*LBN-R.I.P.: Prodigy, the hard-nosed Queens rapper who kiln-fired New York hip-hop into a thing of unhurried attitude and stoic elegance as half of the duo Mobb Deep, died Tuesday in Las Vegas. He was 42. His publicist, Roberta Magrini, said that Prodigy was hospitalized there following a recent Mobb Deep performance, for complications of sickle cell anemia, which he had been battling since birth. She added that the cause of death had not yet been determined.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Farhad Manjoo
: Online campaigns against brands have become one of the most powerful forces in business, giving customers a huge megaphone with which to shape corporate ethics and practices, and imperiling some of the most towering figures of media and industry.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Kent Moyer (Security expert)
: Why are there no protests about this? California just approved a .12 cent gas tax. It will provide the Ca. gov. to spend another 5 billion a years. 10 million is for illegals.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Lowell Weicker Jr.: Forty-five years ago this month, a security guard named Frank Wills noticed some tape over a door lock at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Complex in Washington. What Mr. Wills set in motion when he raised the alarm that led to the arrest of the Watergate burglars had huge consequences for our nation. In President Richard Nixon’sefforts to hide the truth of the Watergate burglary, it was paramount to stop the F.B.I. investigation. So the president enlisted the C.I.A. director and his deputy to intercede. When the F.B.I. director pushed back and the intelligence officers refused to continue the White House scheme, the cover-up began its slow unraveling. It took time. It was 16 months before Mr. Nixon topped that initial obstruction by firing the special prosecutor and the two senior Justice Department officers. And then, a few months later, it was disclosed that Mr. Nixon had underpaid his taxes for years, and he was forced to pay hundreds of thousands in restitution. All the while, Mr. Nixon’s defenders claimed the investigations were a partisan payback for his 1972 election victory. As the last living member of the Senate committee that investigated the Watergate affair, I am often asked about what similarities I see between the criminality of the Nixon operation and this hash of a presidency that is the Trump White House. My answer is that there is no comparison. Yet.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman:
A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?” I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites — we call them ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans,’ but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.” It used to be that people didn’t want their kids to marry one of “them,” referring to someone of a different religion or race (bad enough). Now the “them” is someone of a different party. When a liberal comedian poses with a mock severed head of Donald Trump
, when the president’s own son, Eric Trump
, says of his father’s Democratic opponents, “To me, they’re not even people,” you know that you are heading to a dark place.
*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW
*LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Cameron Douglas, the felon son of actor Michael Douglas, violated the terms of his probation after being released from federal custody in March, sources reveal. Douglas — who had his five-year drug sentence extended in 2011 after he was caught with drugs in prison — was caught with marijuana in his system in April, court papers show. According to a recently released transcript of a Manhattan federal court hearing, Douglas’ probation officers told Manhattan federal Judge Richard Berman that Douglas reported to their office for random drug testing April 10 when a lab tech accused the son of Michael and Diandra Douglas of “attempting to manipulate the results.” More testing was done and a third test came back positive for marijuana, the probation office said. ***Kurt Russell has revealed he was the pilot who reported the “Phoenix Lights” UFO sighting two decades ago. In a recent interview with the BBC, the 66-year-old “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” star said he’d been flying his longtime partner Goldie Hawn‘s son Oliver Hudson to see his girlfriend when they both witnessed lights in a triangular formation seemingly passing over Phoenix on March 13, 1997. The lights were also witnessed by thousands of people between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. that night. “I saw six lights over the airport in an absolute uniform, in a ‘v’ shape, and … I was just looking at them,” Russell said.