Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) "unequivocally" apologized in a Monday statement for a series of tweets on Israel that Democratic leaders have condemned for containing anti-Semitic tropes. "Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes," she said. "My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. This is why I unequivocally apologize." Omar also wrote that she reaffirms her stance against lobbying groups like the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee, along with the National Rifle Association and the fossil fuel industry. "It's gone on too long and we must be willing to address it," she wrote. The statement comes after House Democratic leaders called on her to apologize after she claimed that AIPAC was paying politicians to take pro-Israel stances. "As Democrats and as Americans, the entire Congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice, and discrimination wherever they are encountered," House leaders said.
American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, sought advice last year from the Justice Department over whether it should register as a foreign agent after publishing a pro-Saudi magazine, The Wall Street Journal reports. Connections between the National Enquirer and Saudi Arabia were again thrust into the spotlight after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos launched an investigation into how the tabloid obtained private photos and texts with his mistress, Lauren Sanchez. In a bombshell blog post detailing the investigation and accusing AMI of blackmailing him, Bezos wrote that the "Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve." AMI's pro-Saudi magazine, which was on U.S. newsstands last year, celebrated the country's controversial crown prince. The publishing company has also looked for financial backing from Saudi investors, according to the Journal report. An attorney for AMI Chief Executive David Pecker denied the company was extorting Bezos, and said the source of the information for the Bezos coverage "was not Saudi Arabia."
Five people were found dead inside a Texas home on Monday, local news station KHOU reports. The five victims were reportedly found dead with "apparent gunshot wounds" after the Polk County Sheriff's Office received a call regarding "multiple assault victims" Monday morning. Sheriff Kenneth Hammack told KHOU that the sheriff's office and the Texas Rangers are currently investigating the home in the "Blanchard Community of Polk County." It is reportedly unclear if any suspects have been identified.
Roger Stone, a longtime confidante of President Trump, called members of the mainstream media "leftist retards" while attacking the coverage of his indictment in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, according to a video unearthed Monday by Media Matters. On an episode of InfoWars last week, Stone was asked about what he thought of media personalities—like CNN analyst Ana Navarro, anchor Don Lemon, and late-night host Stephen Colbert—"celebrating this illegal takedown of you." Stone then proceeded to call Navarro a "porquita, a little piglet," saying she was "50 pounds of [Rep. Adam] Schiff in a 20-pound bag." He also alleged that she was a "nasty diva" who was "very abusive" to those who worked around her. "So, I revel in your hatred, Ana, and when I'm acquitted I'm going to go right back to criticizing you for your total lack of talent or intelligence," he said. "Puerco is what I would say."
He went on to claim that Lemon's glasses are made of "windowpane glass," insisting he wears them to "try to look intelligent." As far as Colbert was concerned, he simply said "that's the way it is." "...I revel in the hatred of these leftist retards," he said to cap off his rant. "They're not talented; they're not funny." Stone was threatened with a gag order in federal court last week after the judge reportedly said he shouldn't speak about his in-court proceedings as if it were "a book tour." He recently pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and making false statements.
Chocolates and flowers are classic Valentine's Day staples for a simple reason: They work. This Valentine's Day, From You Flowers is offering next-day delivery to make sure that classic combo — specifically, a dozen long-stemmed red roses and Godiva chocolates — gets to your Valentine. They've even added a quintessentially huggable teddy bear to the mix. (Don't get us started on that shining bow!) This classic gift bundle is 50% off, so order now to check off that to-do and avoid any risk of missing the holiday. Seriously, don't miss getting something for your Valentine. If bears aren't your thing, From You Flowers can meet your desires with loads of other Valentine's Day options. For example, there are the I LOVE YOU Chocolate Covered Oreos and the Cherry Blossom Spa Treatment Package — for those interested in the self-care route. On top of the Valentine's Day teddy basket discount, From You Flowers is also having a 20% site-wide sale for Valentine's Day and is even offering same-day delivery on select products. That discount means you can feel free to send flowers (or chocolates or lotions) to more than one person—we're thinking parents, siblings, distant loved ones, and very close friends. Whoever it is you love, sweeten both of your lives with From You Flowers.
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Shoes that are part of a line by pop star Katy Perry have been pulled from retailers Dillards and Walmart after one style was called out for evoking the racist imagery of blackface. The style in question—on a pair of mules and some high-heeled sandals—features eyes and big red lips, resembling minstrel makeup. The retailers are pulling the offensive style after facing social-media backlash. The rest of the line won't be pulled. The incident comes just days after Gucci pulled a turtleneck sweater featuring a mouth cover with wide red lips from its website. In December, Prada pulled a range of accessories featuring black characters with oversized red lips.
A Pennsylvania newspaper has dropped the nationally syndicated cartoon Non Sequitur after a reader discovered an insult to President Trump hidden in the comic strip. The message, written in the lower right panel of the cartoon, says, "we fondly say go fuck yourself Trump." The message was hidden in a cartoon drawn by cartoonist Wiley Miller. Miller acknowledged the message in his comic, tweeting "some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg from Leonardo Bear-Vinci. Can you find it?" Non Sequitur publishes in more than 700 newspapers nationwide, according to the company's website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming nicotine vaping devices like the popular Juul brand for single-handedly causing a spike in tobacco use among teenagers. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey released Monday, over the course of a year, the number of high school students using tobacco products, which include e-cigarettes, increased by about 38 percent. The spike threatens to erase years of progress curbing youth tobacco use. The survey results translate to about 27 percent of high school students using tobacco products in 2018, the CDC said. And in 2018, nearly 21 percent of high school students vaped, up from nearly 12 percent from the previous year.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Special Prosecutor Joe McMahon are challenging the prison sentence of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison for the fatal 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Raoul said he is specifically challenging the judge's decision to sentence Van Dyke for second-degree murder, not aggravated battery. If Van Dyke just serves for the second-degree murder charge he is only required to serve about half his sentence under good-time provisions. Had he been sentenced on the aggravated battery charges, he would have had to serve at least 85 percent of that time.
McMahon said he is still satisfied with the sentence, but wants to make sure it is lawful. The special prosecutor said he's stayed in touch with McDonald's family, and believes they are supportive of this move. It's been less than a month since Van Dyke's controversial sentence was handed down. Activists expected a stiffer punishment after a jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. If the sentence stands, Van Dyke would likely serve a little more than three years after shooting the 17-year-old 16 times.
Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax said he will not step down despite sexual-assault allegations from two women, and calls for his resignation from fellow Democrats who have been considering launching impeachment proceedings against him. Fairfax has maintained that he did not sexually assault his two accusers or anyone else. In an interview with The Washington Post, Fairfax said the two women deserve to be heard, but that he also deserves due process. "Due process is at the heart of our constitutional democracy in order to get to the truth and be true to what we are as Americans," Fairfax said. "... Everyone deserves to be heard. … even when faced with those allegations, I am still standing up for everyone's right to be heard. But I'm also standing up for due process." Democrats decided to slow down the impeachment process Sunday night amid questions about the proper procedure and viability of such a plan given that the alleged offenses did not take place while Fairfax was lieutenant governor.
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