Posts tagged with "HuffPost"

Meet Isa, the new Gerber Baby Contest winner

May 9, 2022

It’s official! There’s a new Gerber baby in town. On Wednesday, May4, the baby food brand announced the winner of its 12th annual Gerber Baby Photo Search Contest: 7-month-old Isa Slish from Edmond, Oklahoma, reports HuffPost.

A panel of judges selected Isa from a pool of more than 225,000 entrants to serve as the 2022 Gerber “spokesbaby” and honorary “chief growing officer.” She will hold the title of “chief taste tester” and “review” the brand’s new baby food products, the company says.

Isa also will appear on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns for the year. Her family will receive a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to a year, $1,000 in Gerber baby clothes and a $1,000 gift card from the ezpz brand of developmental feeding tools.

Isa’s win is not just an exciting moment for her family but also marks a victory for disability inclusion. The 7-month-old was born with congenital femoral deficiency and fibular hemimelia, which in her case means she was born without a femur or fibula in her right leg.

“Ever since we knew Isa was going to be born with a limb difference, we’ve wanted to raise awareness and advocate as much as possible,” Isa’s mother Meredith Slish told HuffPost. “After I saw the call for entries, we thought this could be a great opportunity to show off our beautiful baby girl and raise awareness around limb difference.”

Meredith and her husband, John, feel it’s fitting that they were able to enter Isa into the Gerber contest during the month of April, which is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. As for her win, they are excited the judges recognized how “amazing” and “special” their joy-filled daughter is.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Gerber for choosing a baby who represents diversity,” Meredith said. “And we hope going forward she will not only be the wonderful, fun-loving, giggly, smiling, beautiful girl she is, but also help us raise awareness—communicating to families that there is hope, and if babies are supported and loved by the family, friends and community around them, that they can really grow and be whatever they want to be.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Roe v. Wade may be overturned, a leaked draft of Supreme Court opinion reveals

May 4, 2022

A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito  and  published late Monday by Politico  indicates that the court may be preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that established a constitutional right to an abortion, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The draft, dated from February, couldn’t be independently confirmed, but legal observers said it appeared to be authentic. On Tuesday, May 2, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft was authentic and launched an investigation into the leak, according to a report by HuffPost.

According to the Journal, the 67-page opinion, marked as a first draft, declared that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging,” and that Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that limited but didn’t eliminate abortion rights, prolonged the court’s error.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft opinion said. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

The draft does not necessarily represent the court’s ultimate decision in the case or even the majority’s current thinking. However, it is consistent with the tenor of December’s oral arguments in the case challenging Roe, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationconcerning Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. The draft was labeled the opinion of the court—implying that a majority of justices had agreed with it.

The apparent leak represents a nearly unheard of breach of the court’s private, behind-the-scenes deliberations on a blockbuster case that the court hasn’t yet publicly issued. It also could threaten longstanding bonds of trust on a court that has already been under ideological and personal strains.

After an initial vote among justices on a case, Supreme Court decisions can undergo considerable evolution in tone and substance as justices circulate draft opinions for weeks and months. Those drafts are circulated between chambers—with justices typically offering feedback, support, and criticism in writing—until the court arrives at a final ruling, which is frequently accompanied by concurring and dissenting opinions that weigh in on the court’s holding.

Given those internal processes, it’s possible that there are more recent versions of the decision that look different than the draft Politico published. And on occasions, justices can change their positions during deliberations.

The court’s decision has been expected by the end of June or early July.

Research contact: @WSJ

Florida reportedly is probing Melania Trump’s tea for a charity that doesn’t seem to exist

February 15, 2022

Officials have launched an “inquiry” into an upcoming Florida fundraiser organized by Melania Trump for a charity that isn’t registered in the state, as is required by law, The New York Times reported on Saturday, February 12—and it isn’t clear whether the charity even exists.

Indeed, according to HuffPost, tickets are being sold to an “exclusive high tea” scheduled for April 9—and featuring the former first lady—in Naples, Florida.

According to information from Trump’s office, the tea will raise money for the charity Fostering the Future, which is described as an initiative of Be Best, the anti-bullying mission launched by Trump when she was living in the White House. Money is supposed to fund computer science scholarships to young people who have been in foster care, according to the ticket sales site. Tickets for a VIP table sponsor cost $50,000. Patron tickets are going for $3,000.

But no such charity is registered in Florida, the Times reported. Nor does it appear to exist anywhere else. Officials at the Florida agency that oversees charity fundraising confirmed to the Times that there is no state registration of the charity, and they are investigating.

“Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes,” Erin Moffet, an agency spokesperson, said in a statement to the Times, referring to the state law requiring charities to register before soliciting money.

There is a website called “Fostering the Future” for the nonprofit organization Children’s Rights Inc., which is located in New York City. It’s described in a charity form as “advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children.” There is no mention on its website of Melania Trump, Be Best, or the upcoming Florida fundraiser.

HuffPost could not immediately reach Children’s Rights for comment.

There is also a Fostering the Future in Illinois, which exists on the internet only as a name on a donation site with no information about the organization. The charity tracking organization Charity Navigator also has little information about it.

Responding to the Times story on Twitter, Melania Trump called it “dishonest reporting” by “corrupt media,” and said all documents are “in the works.”

She also stated that “we are working” with the Bradley Impact Fund, a “donor-advised fund,” to “select charities that will receive the donations to foster children.” The statement sounds like the charities haven’t yet been picked, which appears to contradict the information on the ticket sales site for the high tea with Trump.

The Bradley Impact Fund has been linked to organizations pushing Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election he lost was rigged.

The Times’ story about the former first lady’s upcoming high tea also examined all the ways her husband is lining his pockets in his post-White House life.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Controversy: Starbucks fires union leaders In Memphis

February 10, 2022

Starbucks has fired several workers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were part of the growing unionization effort that’s spreading quickly throughout the coffee chain, reports HuffPost.

The campaign, Starbucks Workers Unitedsaid on February 8 on Twitter that the company had canned “virtually the entire union leadership in Memphis”—calling it a case of retaliation for their union support. The group said the total number of firings came to seven, or about one-third of the workers at the store.

“The arc of Starbucks’ union-busting is long, but it bends toward losing,” the campaign wrote.

Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, said the company did not fire workers for organizing, but for violating safety and security protocols. He said workers opened the locked store after close of business without permission and let nonemployees in.

Several workers recently gave MWC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, an in-store interview about the union campaign.

Richard Bensinger, a longtime organizer involved in the Starbucks campaign, said on Twitter that the workers were fired “for talking to local TV reporters in their store!”

Borges said he wanted to make it “unequivocally clear” that the company didn’t fire the workers for talking to the media. “To suggest that is to completely ignore the clear violations of known policies that these partners openly acknowledged they were aware of as part of this investigation,” he said in an email.

But Nikki Taylor, a shift supervisor at the store, said in a statement through the union that she was “fired by Starbucks today for ‘policies’ that I’ve never heard of before.” She called the firing a “clear attempt by Starbucks to retaliate.”

The Starbucks workers have been organizing with the union Workers United, which plans to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the firings. The union would argue that the workers were illegally targeted because of their union support.

In a statement, Starbucks Workers United called the firings the “most blatant act of union-busting yet.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Adam Schiff explains why Trump’s pardon promise is ‘very important evidence’

February 4, 2022

Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) says former President Donald Trump’s dangling of the prospect of pardons for the U.S. Capital rioters is “very important evidence as to his intent” for the violence unleashed by his supporters on January 6, 2021, reports HuffPost.

Schiff, a member of the House select committee investigating the insurrection, suggested on MSNBC on Wednesday, February 2, that Trump’s comments at a weekend rally were part of a broader pattern of using pardons to influence and intimidate witnesses.

“I think his recent statements, as well as the public reports of prior inquiries about pardoning people involved in attacking the Capitol police that day, they go to a couple of things,” Schiff told anchor Lawrence O’Donnell, referencing new reports Trump considered blanket pardons for the rioters before he left office.

“They go to his intent,” Schiff opined. “If this violence against the Capitol wasn’t part of the plan, or wasn’t something he condoned, then why would he consider pardoning them?”

“So, I think it’s very important evidence as to his intent. But it also is I think part of that broader pattern … to influence potentially what witnesses have to say, or whether they will say it,” he added.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Disney defends its ‘Snow White’ remake amid criticism from Peter Dinklage

Janaury 27, 2022

Disney has gone on the defensive after actor Peter Dinklage criticized its plans to release a live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as “hypocritical,” reports HuffPost.

The film studio has insisted they are “taking a different approach” after the Game Of Thrones star said it “made no sense” to produce a live-action reboot.

Th star, who has a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, said it “made no sense” for the production to go ahead—describing it as “a f*cking backwards story”, during an appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

Following his comments, Disney issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, January 25. “To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community,” a Disney spokesperson said, adding, “We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”

The remake follows the huge box office success of live adaptations of other Disney classic—among them, Beauty And The Beast and The Lion King.

Peter accused Disney of “hypocrisy” for pushing for a racially diverse cast but reverting to harmful stereotypes.

“There’s a lot of hypocrisy going on I’ve got to say,” he said.

“No offence to anything but I was a little taken aback by [the fact] they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White, but you’re still telling the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarves.

“They were so proud of that, and all love and respect to the actress and the people who thought they were doing the right thing but I’m just like, ‘what are you doing?’”

He continued: “Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. You can be progressive in one way but you’re still making that f*cking backwards story of the seven dwarves living in the cave.

“What the f*ck are you doing man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Former AG Bill Barr has spoken to January 6 Committee, chairman says

January 25, 2022

The chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol said on Sunday, January 23, that former Attorney General Bill Barr  already has spoken with investigators—a major revelation that at least some former Trump Administration officials are cooperating with the probe into the deadly insurrection, reports HuffPost.

“To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said on CBS-TV’s’ Face the Nation. “We’ve talked to Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false.”

Thompson’s remarks came amid questioning over recent reports that Trump was presented with a draft executive order that would have directed the Pentagon to seize voting machines in battleground states after he lost the 2020 election. Politico first reported last week that the document is among several records Trump’s attorneys were trying to shield from January 6 investigators.

The Supreme Court ruled this month, however, that the National Archives should turn the documents over, and the select committee said just hours later that it had already begun to receive the records.

Thompson told CBS News host Margaret Brennan that the plan was only a draft and never became operational—but said that lawmakers remained concerned about the reports and would let the public know if it found evidence of any “individual who [were] participating in trying to stop the election.”

“If you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know. We’ve never had that before,” Thompson said Sunday.

It’s unclear what Barr discussed with the panel, or if he spoke about the draft order on voting machines, but the fact that he spoke with lawmakers is significant. Several top Trump officials have refused to do so, even as the select committee has ramped up its issuance of subpoenas.

The Washington Post reported that the committee’s conversations with Barr were “informal,” citing a committee staffer familiar with the discussions. The outlet added that lawmakers also have already interviewed Barr’s successor, Jeffrey Rosen.

Barr was closely allied with Trump throughout his tenure at the Justice Department, but he resigned in December 2020 after he refused to back up the then-president’s false claims about election fraud.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Supreme Court blocks Biden’s vaccine-or-test rule for large employers

January 17, 2022

On Thursday, January13, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden Administration from enforcing its emergency rule mandating that workers at large businesses get vaccinated or undergo regular testing for COVID-19—a major setback for the president’s national vaccination effort, reports the HuffPost.

However, the court decided to allow the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities.

The justices’ decision to intervene and halt one of the vaccine regulations has major public health implications amid a surge in coronavirus cases due to the omicron variant. The White House hoped the rule, issued through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), would protect workers against COVID-19 transmission and encourage holdouts to get vaccinated.

The justices ruled 6-3 in favor of halting OSHA’s vaccine-or-test rule, with the court’s six conservatives in the majority and the three liberals dissenting. They ruled 5-4 in favor of letting the healthcare rule proceed, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh breaking with their conservative colleagues to join the liberals.

The OSHA regulation requires that employers with at least 100 workers implement programs in which those workers show proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test each week. The administration estimates it would cover 84 million workers, mostly in the private sector.

Enforcement of the testing provision was slated to begin on Febrary 9.

Business groups and state GOP officials filed lawsuits aimed at blocking the rule, arguing that it went beyond OSHA’s legal power and would hurt the economy by prompting workers to quit their jobs. Lower courts disagreed on whether the rule was within OSHA’s authority.

In their ruling, the majority said the opponents of the OSHA rule were likely to prevail in court, and so the justices’ decision prevents the rule from going into effect while the litigation plays out. In an opinion joined by justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that “Congress has nowhere clearly assigned so much power to OSHA” to institute such a requirement for employers.

“Yet that is precisely what the agency seeks to do now—regulate not just what happens inside the workplace but induce individuals to undertake a medical procedure that affects their lives outside the workplace,” Gorsuch wrote.

In their dissenting opinion, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said the court should leave such policies to the experts. By acting “outside of its competence and without legal basis,” they argued, the court was substituting its own judgment for that of the government officials tasked with responding to a crisis.

“If OSHA’s Standard is far-reaching—applying to many millions of American workers—it no more than reflects the scope of the crisis,” the justices wrote. “The Standard responds to a workplace health emergency unprecedented in the agency’s history: an infectious disease that has already killed hundreds of thousands and sickened millions.”

The court held a special session to hear oral arguments on the matter on January 7-—expediting the case as enforcement of the rule was about to begin. While the court’s three liberal justices seemed loath to undermine a public health regulation as COVID-19 cases were soaring, most of the conservative justices voiced skepticism of the rule, suggesting it should necessitate an act of Congress.

Alito wondered whether OSHA was trying to legally “squeeze an elephant through a mouse hole” by issuing the rule. Chief Justice John Roberts asked “why Congress doesn’t have a say in this.”

The Biden administration has argued that OSHA has the authority to issue the vaccine-or-test rule under its emergency powers, and that a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates such a sweeping regulation.

such as hepatitis B, influenza, and measles, mumps, and rubella,” they wrote.

Biden said in a statement Thursday that the ruling upholding the health care rule “will save lives,” including those of patients, nurses and doctors. He also said he was “disappointed” that the court blocked the OSHA regulation, saying it included “common-sense life-saving requirements” for employers.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Biden to endorse changing Senate filibuster to support voting rights

January 12, 2022

President Joe Biden, in a speech delivered on Tuesday, January 11, in Atlanta, planned to directly challenge the “institution of the United States Senate” to support voting rights by backing two major pieces of legislation and the carving out of an exception to the Senate’s 60-vote requirement, reports the HuffPost.

Coming a week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Biden’s speech at the Atlanta University Center Consortium represents a follow-up to a speech he delivered last week on the first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot—characterizing both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as critical to ensure that the turmoil of January 6, 2021, is followed by a revival of American democracy.

“The next few days, when these bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation,” Biden planned to say, according to prepared remarks distributed by the White House. “Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand. I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic. And so the question is: Where will the institution of the United States Senate stand?”

Biden, who served as a senator from 1973 to 2009, argues that abuse of the filibuster―the arcane rule that requires 60 senators’ votes for most legislation to pass—has harmed the Senate as an institution and that carving out an exception for voting rights is the best way to protect the reputation and functionality of Congress’s upper chamber.

The Senate is set to vote on both pieces of voting rights legislation this week. While all 50 Democrats are expected to support the legislation, Republicans are expected to remain unified in opposition and block consideration―as they have the previous three times Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has attempted to call up the Freedom to Vote Act.

That unified GOP opposition will almost certainly lead to a vote on whether to significantly weaken the filibuster. But it appears unlikely Democrats will be able to corral the 50 votes necessary for a rule change. Sens. Joe Manchin (West Virginia.), Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) and other moderates are reluctant to change the body’s rules.

White House aides indicated that Biden’s speech points to Georgia as a reason why voting rights legislation is necessary—highlighting how the GOP-controlled state legislature passed laws making it harder to vote after Democrats won the presidential race and two Senate seats there in 2020.

The Freedom to Vote Act is a compromise version of the Democratic Party’s sweeping voting rights legislation, and it would override many of the restrictive voting laws passed by Republicans since the 2020 election and mandate early voting and same-day voter registration. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would restore sections of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 that conservatives on the Supreme Court voted to gut in 2013.

Republicans, up to and including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, had long supported extensions to the Voting Rights Act but ceased doing so after the Supreme Court ruling.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Bidens welcome new puppy to the White House

December 22, 2021

The White House has a new, four-legged resident. President Joe Biden introduced the newest member of his family, a German Shepherd puppy named Commander, on Instagram (#firstdogs) on Monday, December 20, reports HuffPost.

“Welcome to the White House, Commander,” the post read.

The three-month-old pup was a birthday gift to the president from his brother James Biden and sister-in-law Sara Biden, the first lady’s Press Secretary Michael LaRosa told CNN. Biden turned 79 on November 20.

Commander was born on September 1 and arrived at his new home Monday afternoon, CNN noted.

The Bidens originally moved into the White House with two German Shepherds. One of them, Champ, died in June at the age of 13. The other, a three-year-old rescue named Major, was sent home to Delaware for training after two biting incidents following his arrival earlier this year.

“After consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians, the First Family has decided to follow the experts’ collective recommendation that it would be safest for Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends,” LaRosa said in a statement to media. “This is not in reaction to any new or specific incident, but rather a decision reached after several months of deliberation as a family and discussions with experts.”

A cat also will join the family in January, he said.

Research contact: @HuffPost