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  • Full Kelly Interview: ‘Every Single Day’ Terrorists Are Plotting Against U.S. news

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly joins Meet the Press to talk about reports that White House Adviser Jared Kushner tried to set up a secret Russia backchannel, and why he believes intelligence leaks are “darn close to treason.”

    Sun, 28 May 2017 01:48:26 -0400
  • Full Clapper: 'My Dashboard Warning Light Was Clearly On' Over Trump Campaign's Russia Communications news

    Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tells Chuck Todd that he was "very concerned about the nature" of approaches between the Trump campaign and Russian agents during the 2016 elections

    Sun, 28 May 2017 02:48:19 -0400
  • Two men killed in Oregon train stabbings after anti-Muslim rant news

    A man fatally stabbed two passengers aboard a Portland, Oregon, commuter train after they tried to stop him from harassing two young women who appeared to be Muslim, police said on Saturday. Police identified the assailant, who was arrested soon after the Friday afternoon attack, as Jeremy Joseph Christian of Portland, a 35-year-old convicted felon. A senior researcher with the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a blog post, said Christian's Facebook page showed he held "some racist and other extremist beliefs." The attack unfolded hours before the start of Ramadan, Islam's holy month, when most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims observe a daily religious fast.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 18:01:23 -0400
  • Trump promises climate decision next week after G7 stalemate news

    President Donald Trump said Saturday he would decide next week whether the United States would abide by the 2015 Paris agreement on cutting global carbon emissions. "I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!" Trump tweeted. US Defense Secretary James Mattis, in comments to be aired fully in a TV interview Sunday, said Trump -- famously skeptical of global warming -- is now "wide open" on the issue.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 18:06:13 -0400
  • Young Boy Thrown Off Slide At Dublin's New Water Park news

    The water slide that was responsible for the accident, the Emerald Plunge, was shut down and is being reevaluated for possible construction flaws.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 06:48:32 -0400
  • 2 Men Charged After Allegedly Forcing An Alligator to Drink Beer And Then Posting Snapchat Videos of It news

    They then watch the animal swim away.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 17:21:00 -0400
  • For Siemens and Other Companies, Apprentice Programs news

    When Siemens wanted to find U.S. workers to build gas turbines, only 15 percent of those who applied had the skills needed.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 11:46:35 -0400
  • Anti-India protests hit Kashmir after top rebel is killed news

    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — One civilian was killed and dozens of others injured Saturday after massive anti-India protests and clashes erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir following the killing of a prominent rebel commander and his associate in a gunbattle with government forces in the disputed region.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 10:28:05 -0400
  • Media frenzy as Australian drug trafficker Corby returns home news

    Australian Schapelle Corby battled a media storm as she returned home from Bali Sunday 12 years after her conviction for drug trafficking, in a dramatic end to a saga that captivated her homeland. The beauty school dropout hit Australian headlines when she was arrested in 2004 at Bali airport aged 27 with several kilos of hashish stashed in her surfing gear, and was jailed the following year for 20 years. Corby and her sister Mercedes concocted an elaborate plan to avoid the cameras after they touched down in the eastern city of Brisbane early Sunday morning, using multiple vehicle convoys to confuse the media when they departed the airport.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 00:02:01 -0400
  • Full Interview: Mitch Landrieu On Removing Confederate Monuments news

    New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu discusses his decision to remove Confederate monuments from the city in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 09:17:27 -0400
  • Jared Kushner’s Growing Stench of Treason news

    Nobody knows yet whether the president's son-in-law broke any laws. But "traitor" is more than just a legal term.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 14:15:29 -0400
  • Texas toddler deaths: Two young children found dead ‘after being locked inside hot car’ news

    Two toddlers were found dead in a locked vehicle on Friday in Parker County, Texas. Temperatures had hit 96F (35C) when the mother of the children, a two-year-old girl and a 16-month-old boy, says she found them locked inside her car, according to a news release from the local sheriff’s office. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s website identifies the two children as Juliet and Cavanaugh Ramirez – and says the cause of their deaths is still pending.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 08:11:00 -0400
  • Thousands protest against Moscow housing resettlement, but numbers fall news

    Thousands of Muscovites protested in the south-west of the Russian capital on Sunday against government plans to resettle millions of citizens from shoddy Soviet-era apartment blocks, but numbers had fallen compared to earlier rallies. A Reuters witness said around 5,000 people attended the latest rally, compared to organizers' estimates of 60,000 at a protest on May 14. Moscow residents are also concerned about the location and quality of the planned new accommodation, a lack of services and infrastructure and about threats the redevelopment may pose to the historic face of the Russian capital.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 11:17:25 -0400
  • 3-Week-Old Dies in Dog Attack After Being Left Alone With Family's Three Pit Bulls news

    The mother said she left her alone for five minutes with.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 11:14:00 -0400
  • Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski dies at 89

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish Polish-born Cold War strategist and former top aide to US president Jimmy Carter, has died, his family said. He was 89.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 13:11:55 -0400
  • Young activist, ex-military man latest killed in Venezuela

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A 20-year-old man from the opposition Popular Will Party on Sunday became the most recent person to die in a wave of anti-government protests held almost daily since the end of March, Venezuelan authorities said. A former military man died in a separate incident on Saturday when he was attacked by a group of people in another part of the country in a continuing wave of violence sparked by ongoing protests.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 15:54:41 -0400
  • Ramadan in Libya: little cash and too much violence news

    The holy Muslim month of Ramadan began Saturday with a bitter taste for residents of Libya's capital, as a cash shortage bites, prices rise and deadly clashes returned to Tripoli. During Ramadan, Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk. Prices have multiplied by three or four times this year in Libya, including at Tomzini which is famed for its fresh spices.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 04:32:34 -0400
  • Australian trafficker Corby back home amid media storm news

    Australian Schapelle Corby returned home Sunday following her deportation from Bali 12 years after her conviction for drug trafficking, as she battled through a media storm in a dramatic end to a saga that captivated her homeland. Corby and her sister Mercedes avoided cameras when she touched down in the eastern city of Brisbane early on Sunday morning, with live television broadcasts showing a convoy of vehicles believed to be carrying them leaving the airport. "It is with gratefulness and relief that this morning we mark Schapelle Corby's return to Australia," a member of her security team said, reading out a family statement at Brisbane airport.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 20:15:10 -0400
  • Trump tells 'confidants' U.S. will leave Paris climate deal: Axios news

    U.S. President Donald Trump has told "confidants," including the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave a landmark international agreement on climate change, Axios news outlet reported on Saturday, citing three sources with direct knowledge. On Saturday, Trump said in a Twitter post he would make a decision on whether to support the Paris climate deal next week. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 21:33:06 -0400
  • Memorial Day NYC Events 2017 news

    On this day, people across the nation pay tribute to service members with wreath layings, parades, speeches and candlelight vigils.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 07:47:32 -0400
  • Sputnik's White House correspondent quits, claiming they would rather have 'propagandists' than 'real journalists' news

    Sputnik’s White House correspondent, Andrew Feinberg, has quit the Russian-state news organisation, claiming they would rather have “propagandists” than “real journalists”. Mr Feinberg, has taken to social media to give full details about his reasoning for resigning and has claimed he was forced to chase stories that were contrary to the facts on the ground. “Seems Sputnik isn't happy with real journalists.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 07:53:01 -0400
  • Right-wing provocateurs say they are being silenced. Cry me a river | Christian Christensen news

    When those who pontificated about the evils of the “nanny state” and the genius of consumer choice and the “invisible hand” suddenly realize that consumers don’t like them any more, and that the invisible hand is about to yank them out of their position of power.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 06:00:07 -0400
  • 2 Toddlers Die After Becoming Trapped In Hot Car news

    Police are investigating.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 10:34:00 -0400
  • Greg Allman, Founder of the Allman Brothers Band, Dies at 69 news

    The legendary Southern rocker who composed countless hits as frontman for The Allman Brothers Band and battled a very public addiction with drugs died Saturday at his home. He was 69.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 11:41:54 -0400
  • Judge dismisses lawsuit against Clinton by Benghazi families news

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge threw out a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton by the parents of two Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, ruling the former secretary of state didn't defame them when disputing allegations that she had lied.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 01:48:56 -0400
  • Karl: Sources close to president say it may be time for Kushner to take leave of absence news

    ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas report on the Russia investigation and latest developments about Jared Kushner.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 11:17:05 -0400
  • Bodies of Indian climbers who died on Everest recovered news

    Rescuers have retrieved the body of an Indian climber who died on Mount Everest and airlifted it to Kathmandu on Sunday, along with those of two others who perished last year. Ravi Kumar, 27, died this month after summiting the world's highest mountain and becoming separated from his guide soon afterwards. Rescuers said its recovery was a risky operation.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 09:21:03 -0400
  • Iraqi forces launch operation to seize last Islamic State enclave in Mosul news

    By Maher Chmaytelli and Isabel Coles BAGHDAD/MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi armed forces launched an operation on Saturday to capture the last Islamic State-held enclave in Mosul, according to a military statement. The fall of the city would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the "caliphate" declared nearly three years ago by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which also covers parts of Syria. The U.S.-backed offensive in Mosul, now in its eighth month, has taken longer than planned as the militants are dug in among civilians.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 12:05:42 -0400
  • Why The Price Of Oil Is Falling news

    Crude oil's rally came to an end this week on fears that too much oil will continue to be a problem.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 06:00:03 -0400
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ‘refuses to hold Ramadan event’ in break with tradition news

    Donald Trump’s Secretary of State has refused to host an event to mark Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, seemingly breaking with a long bipartisan tradition. Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either the reception or an iftar dinner to break the day’s fast during Ramadan. Mr Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host the Eid reception, two unnamed US officials said.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 08:41:00 -0400
  • Rolling Thunder, French Open, Manchester tribute and more — it happened today: May 28 in pictures

    Motorcyclists pass Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers, Ret., and Christian Jacobs, 6, of Hertford, N.C., as they salute in Washington; fans watch the qualification round match between Luxemburg’s Gilles Muller and Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez during the French Open in Paris; and marathon runners pay respects at flower tributes in St Ann’s square in Manchester, England. These are some of the photos of the day.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 16:31:24 -0400
  • Slain Virginia drug enforcement officer called "Superman" news

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia State Police special agent fatally shot by a convicted felon in a Richmond public housing complex was remembered Sunday as a man dedicated to improving the lives of children.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 19:52:38 -0400
  • Civilian deaths a 'fact of life' in war on IS, Pentagon head says news

    Civilian casualties are inevitable in the war against the Islamic State group but the United states is doing "everything humanly possible" to avoid them, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in an interview aired Sunday. A US-led international coalition has been carrying out air strikes against the IS group in Iraq and Syria since 2014, and nongovernmental organizations say the attacks are claiming ever more civilian lives. Some NGOs have blamed the rising civilian death toll on a push by President Donald Trump's administration to accelerate the pace of combat in an effort to "annihilate" the jihadists.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 13:00:17 -0400
  • Pilot's remains back on US soil from Vietnam after 52 years news

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Deborah Crosby touched her father's flag-draped casket as her three brothers hugged her in a tearful embrace on the tarmac at the San Diego airport Friday — ending a more than half century search to find and bring home the remains of Lt. Cmdr. Frederick P. Crosby, shot down as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 08:27:33 -0400
  • General de Gaulle's grave vandalised, say French police news

    The grave of General Charles de Gaulle, France's World War II hero and post-war president, was vandalised on Saturday, police said. De Gaulle led the Free French Forces in London from 1940-44 and reshaped the country's political landscape after the war, founding the Fifth Republic in 1958. De Gaulle died in 1970 shortly before his 80th birthday.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 16:55:04 -0400
  • Bodies of civilians dumped near Philippines city besieged by Islamists news

    By Tom Allard MARAWI CITY, Philippines (Reuters) - Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside a besieged Philippine city on Sunday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels fending off a military onslaught took a more sinister turn. The eight dead, most of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were laborers who were stopped by Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts of Marawi City while trying to flee clashes, according to police. The discovery confirms days of speculation that Maute rebels had killed civilians during a takeover of Marawi, that the military believes is aimed at winning the Maute recognition from the Islamic State as a Southeast Asian affiliate.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 05:38:36 -0400
  • Religion, And Why Atheists Aren't Necessarily Sinners news

    Do we become atheist to just do whatever we want?

    Sun, 28 May 2017 09:30:02 -0400
  • Soccer, West Point graduation, Kashmiri protests and more — it happened today: May 27 in pictures

    Celtic's Tomas Rogic celebrates scoring, graduates of the United States Military Academy toss their hats and more of today’s news from around the world in pictures.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 16:44:03 -0400
  • 2nd suspect apprehended after Santa Monica home invasion leaves 2 men hospitalized news

    A second suspect was arrested after a bloody home-invasion robbery in Santa Monica that left a father and his adult son hospitalized early Friday evening.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 21:18:06 -0400
  • Mother charged with involuntary manslaughter after accidentally smothering son as she slept news

    A mother has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after she allegedly smothered her child while they slept next to each other. Arissa Ward, 23, called police in Middleton, Pennsylvania, on 30 December last year after finding her infant son unresponsive on the couch next to her where they had been sleeping. The coroner also found traces of marijuana in the child’s system as Ms Ward had been breastfeeding.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 18:04:54 -0400
  • South Korea says contact resumed with vessel off Somalia, crew safe

    South Korea said on Saturday it has resumed contact with a distressed fishing vessel that feared it was being followed by a suspected pirate vessel off the waters of Somalia, and that the 3 Koreans and 18 Indonesians on board were safe. The South Korean military had dispatched its anti-piracy naval unit after communication with the Mongolian squid fishing vessel was cut when it requested help after midnight on Friday. The vessel's South Korean captain confirmed the safety of the three South Koreans, the foreign ministry said in the statement.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 06:59:08 -0400
  • Palestinians end mass hunger strike in Israel jails news

    Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike since April 17 have ended their mass protest after Israel agreed a deal following weeks of refusing to negotiate, sources on both sides said on Saturday. Some 30 of the more than 800 hunger strikers had been hospitalised in recent days, raising fears of an escalation of clashes with Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians hailed the deal as a victory for the hunger strikers after Israeli authorities repeatedly vowed not to negotiate with convicted "terrorists".

    Sat, 27 May 2017 07:36:56 -0400
  • Report: After Pulse massacre, police training needs changes

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — As a law enforcement foundation reviews how the Orlando Police Department responded to a 2016 mass shooting at a gay nightclub, the organization's staffers say in a paper that police training and protocols may need to change.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 16:53:41 -0400
  • Meet the Three Brothers Who Just Graduated West Point Together news

    The Ogrydcziak brothers graduated in the same class on Saturday, the first time that has happened at the famed military academy in more than 30 years.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 11:57:27 -0400
  • UK lowers attack threat level as police close in on bomber's network news

    By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - British intelligence experts no longer believe another attack is imminent as significant progress has been made by police investigating the suicide bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday. Police hunting a suspected network behind Salman Abedi, the bomber who killed 22 people on Monday night, said they had made two further arrests overnight and that they had a greater understanding of how his device was made. May said this meant the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), the independent body which sets the threat level, had decided it should be lowered from its highest rating "critical", which meant an attack could be imminent, to "severe".

    Sat, 27 May 2017 16:57:31 -0400
  • Student Loan Debt In The US Is So High That Many Aren't Even Paying It news

    More and more Americans are struggling to make their loan payments -- and it's a real problem.

    Sun, 28 May 2017 10:30:02 -0400
  • Nationalist Buddhist group gathers in Myanmar despite ban news

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Thousands of Buddhist monks, nuns and supporters of an ultranationalist Buddhist group gathered at an annual conference on the outskirts of Myanmar's biggest city on Saturday despite being banned by the government.

    Sat, 27 May 2017 10:21:38 -0400
  • Why 'Handmaid's Tale' costumes are the most powerful meme of the resistance yet news

    Earlier this week, 18 women dressed up in red cloaks and white bonnets, stood in pairs in the rotunda of the Texas state capitol, and began chanting, "Shame!" in unison. They didn't stop shouting for eight minutes.  They call themselves the Texas handmaids. You probably first saw them back in March, when images of their original protest in Austin went viral. That's when they sat silently in the Texas senate gallery, watching as lawmakers debated bills that would make it harder for women to get an abortion. SEE ALSO: Ivanka Trump is not your friend and she's not coming to save you What you may not know is that their demonstrations, inspired by Margaret Atwood's classic dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale and Hulu's vivid TV adaptation, are slowly spreading across the country. Women are holding sewing parties to turn yards of blood-red fabric into capes. They're swapping ideas on private Facebook pages about how to stage protests. They're even planning a coordinated demonstration where dozens of handmaids simultaneously show up at state capitols or in other public places in cities across the country.   #fightbackTX #sb8 — Shift. (@shift_stigma) May 23, 2017 If the visually striking meme takes off, it could become one of the most effective acts of protest from the resistance. The sight of even a dozen women wearing the handmaid costume, while staying silent and keeping their heads down, offers a stark contrast to a group of mostly white men deliberating over what happens to their bodies. The imagery is practically made for the digital era.  The point, activists say, is to send a powerful message: We're closer to a government that strips women of their bodily autonomy than you might think.  Shame on the #txlege for continuing to pass unconstitutional, dangerous abortion restrictions #fightbacktx — NARAL Pro-Choice TX (@naraltx) May 23, 2017 "The easiest way we try to explain it is that the handmaids represent a future where women are nothing more than their reproductive capacity," says Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. "Unfortunately, with the laws that are being passed, that future is not so unrealistic and not so distant."  The idea to enlist Texas women as handmaids started with Busby a few months ago. She happened to see women dressed as the title character from The Handmaid's Tale at South by Southwest. That was a marketing stunt by Hulu, the streaming entertainment provider that brought Atwood's novel to the small screen.  But Busby then joked on Facebook about how someone should send the handmaids down to the capitol, where lawmakers had been busy introducing bills that would curtail abortion rights. Soon NARAL Pro-Choice Texas ordered white bonnets from Amazon Prime and a volunteer rented red capes. A small group of volunteers quickly drew up a plan. They liked the element of surprise in showing up at the capitol in costume — and wanted to let legislators know that women were watching. After that yielded local and national press coverage of the legislative agenda in Texas, activists around the country started reaching out to Busby for tips on how to start their own handmaids brigade.  We have to get creative to make our voices heard, so the Handmaids made a trip back to the Capitol to protest anti-abortion laws. #txlege — Shift. (@shift_stigma) May 9, 2017 You could argue that all of this is moot, that the United States is nowhere close to becoming the Republic of Gilead, The Handmaid's Tale's totalitarian, theocratic state that freezes women's bank accounts, forbids them to work, sends them to re-education camps, and forces many of them to bear children for leaders and their wives.  The New York Times' conservative columnist Ross Douthat argued this week that liberals are seeing the wrong parallels. On the same day, Times op-ed contributor Mona Eltahawy wrote that the Republic of Gilead already exists in Saudi Arabia, where women can't drive and may be imprisoned for disobedience. For her part, Atwood has said that nothing in her novel hasn't already happened before in history.  For the volunteers who are deep into the work of creating and wearing the costumes in public, it's not about whether they still have credit cards or the right to get a job. What they see is the federal and state governments largely in the hands of conservative, even authoritarian, men who've vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and roll back reproductive health rights like abortion and access to affordable birth control. At the same time, those men plan to funnel money to abstinence-only education and vouchers for "school choice," which includes religious schools.  The fact that they're led by Donald Trump terrifies these women.  "We have somebody in the White House who thinks it's OK to grab women and do whatever he wants, and I'm supposed to sit back and be cool with that?" says Emily Morgan, executive director of Action Together New Hampshire, an activist group that emerged in the wake of Trump's election.  Earlier this month, Morgan contacted Busby for details on how to create handmaid costumes. But instead of bringing women into the New Hampshire legislative gallery during a debate or hearing, Morgan and her co-organizers asked them to appear at a press conference calling for the resignation of Rep. Robert Fisher, a Republican who The Daily Beast identified in April as the creator and former moderator of Reddit's popular men's rights "Red Pill" forum. The message board bills itself as a "discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men," and Fisher regularly questioned whether rape is real, according to The Daily Beast. (Fisher resigned later in the day following the press conference.)  A sexual assault survivor with handmaids demanding Rep. Robert Fisher's resignation, on May 17, 2017, in Concord, N.H.Image: Granite State Progress"Fisher and the Red Pill embody exactly what The Handmaid's Tale is a foreshadowing of or is a warning against," Morgan says. "Saying that we're not there — it's sort of degrading to what's actually happening to women."  In the days before the press conference, volunteers made six costumes, but some of the women bowed out after learning the media would be in attendance. Morgan says they feared in-person and online harassment. Nevertheless, she thinks more women will step forward to participate in upcoming demonstrations, particularly since volunteers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are sewing new cloaks so that activists in New England quickly have access to them for future protests.  The time-intensive, costly aspect of buying the bonnets and making the cloaks is one challenge to growing the handmaid ranks. There's also the danger that different groups will splinter in an effort to launch the first nationwide demonstration. Morgan is moderating a private Facebook page to coordinate a national action. A similar page started by one of the Texas handmaids has close to 300 members.  #HandmaidsTale in the House, wondering why hats are allowed on the floor today but not theirs #moleg #PraiseBe — NARAL Missouri (@NARALMissouri) May 3, 2017 The handmaids' signature costumes are also a relatively obscure reference compared to pussyhats, the knit pink caps that have become a symbol of the resistance. But they're also memorable even if you don't know the origin.  Ane Crabtree, the costume designer for the Hulu series, says the outfit's visual power is rooted in both the bright red color, which can signify blood, birth, and passion, and how the cloak conceals women who wear it. The combination tells the viewer what she needs to know about how the body underneath the costume is oppressed.  "It's an easy form of expression to say that everything's been taken away and is being taken away, and it’s a real thing," says Crabtree, who is encouraged and inspired by people making their own version of the costume.  Deborah Marsh, a 65-year-old retiree who is one of the Texas handmaids, says people who get the reference often approach her on the street or in the capitol's rotunda to thank her profusely for the act of defiance. Some, however, have seen the symbolism and don't like it. Marsh says a few people on the street have had "outbursts" or called the women "pathetic."  And the handmaids are sneaking peeks from their smart phones. #TXlege — Joe Pojman, Ph.D. (@joepojman) May 19, 2017 Joe Pojman, executive director of the anti-abortion rights nonprofit group Texas Alliance for Life, seemed to criticize the handmaids a few times, focusing on the fact that they've used smartphones while silently protesting in the gallery, a silly point that Marsh feels makes their case about men who are obsessed with policing women's behavior.  What Marsh didn't expect was how confident she would feel while wearing the costume. "It's such a bold costume, it's making such a bold statement," she says. "And my body is inside that costume, so why wouldn’t I feel bold? Why wouldn't I feel empowered?"  The spirit of @MargaretAtwood is with us today and every day in the #txlege as they continue to take away reproductive rights. — Blake Rocap (@BlakeRocap) March 20, 2017 Among reproductive rights activists like Marsh, the Texas legislature is infamous for its anti-abortion legislation. In 2013, the state passed a law that effectively led to the closure of dozens of abortion clinics, which the Supreme Court found unconstitutional last year. The Republican-led legislature recently voted to ban the safest type of second-trimester abortion and require hospitals and abortion clinics to bury fetal remains, including those from miscarriages that happen at home. Texas has already moved to keep Planned Parenthood from state and federal funding.  In other words, as Texas limits access to both abortion and reproductive health care like birth control, it's easy to imagine a future in which women have little practical control over how and when they have children. That vision shouldn't be limited to Texas either; other Republican-dominated states are pursuing a similar agenda with regard to limiting access to reproductive health care, as is the Trump administration.  "I still have a credit card, I still have a nice car, but I can feel the future here," Marsh says. "If [people] aren't affected by it today, they are going to be affected by it in four yours. Texas is a little bit ahead of the game." Stephanie Martin, a mom from Round Rock, in central Texas, who recently dressed up as a handmaid for the first time, says she's realistic about who the message is going to reach.  "Am I going to change someone's mind who is pro-life?" she asks. "I don't expect that. I'm aiming higher. I want to change the culture." It's still early to gauge exactly how that culture will respond beyond the videos and photos that have gone viral. But the parallel between the male aggression and control that characterizes Gilead feels particularly fresh in a week where a Republican congressional candidate body slammed a reporter for asking a question he didn't like, and the president appeared to shove aside a European leader to get a better position in a photo-op.  Let's not forget the complicity of Ivanka Trump, who promotes herself as a champion of gender equality but says nothing critical about healthcare and budget proposals that are arguably hostile to women. Nor can we ignore the benign-looking malevolence of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who couldn't come up with a single instance of discrimination at publicly funded schools that would give her pause when asked about it at a congressional hearing. In Gilead, after all, the women who are not outrightly oppressed get the privilege of wielding what small power they have against the vulnerable and marginalized.  Morgan admits that some people won't make connections between what's happening today and Atwood's fiction. Yet she urges skeptics to focus less on a dramatic, sweeping end to women's rights. What's more important, at this point, is the underlying implication of attitudes and laws that see no harm in making it more difficult or even impossible for women to determine their own fate. "These are steps on the same path," she says of the parallels between Gilead and Trump's America. "You have to start somewhere."  WATCH: Pete Souza's perfectly timed Insta-shade only keeps getting better and better

    Sun, 28 May 2017 09:00:00 -0400
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