Posts tagged with "HuffPost"

Trump fanatic Paul Hodgkins sentenced to eight months in first felony Capitol riot case

July 20, 2021

Paul Hodgkins, a Florida man who invaded the Senate chamber holding a Trump flag on January 6, was sentenced to eight months in prison followed by 24 months of supervised release on Monday, July 19, in the first felony sentencing in connection with the Capitol insurrection, HuffPost reports.

Hodgkins, who wore a Trump T-shirt during the riot, pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. Four other charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Prosecutors requested an 18-month sentence for Hodgkins, saying that he made the wrong decision at several points:

  • In Florida, when he packed up the gear he’d bring into the Capitol building;
  • On January 6, when he left the Trump rally early and headed to the Capitol;
  • That same day, when he unlawfully entered the Capitol grounds;
  • A short time later, when he illegally entered the Capitol building; and
  • When he entered the Senate chamber.

Hodgkins’ team asked for a probationary sentence, saying that the court should bring the country together by showing leniency and forgiveness. Hodgkins’ lawyer said in a filing that the court should follow the path that former President Abraham Lincoln had planned before his assassination and seek to bring the country together.

“The Court has a chance to emulate Lincoln. We have the chance to be as Lincoln had hoped, to exercise grace and charity, and to restore healing for those who seek forgiveness,” attorney Patrick Leduc wrote. “Alternatively, we can follow the mistakes of our past: to be harsh, seek vengeance, retribution, and revenge, and continue to watch the nation go down its present regrettable path.”

According to the HuffPost, Hodgkins, 38, is the third defendant sentenced in the Capitol attack. Two prior defendants had been sentenced on misdemeanor charges. More than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the Janiaru 6 Capitol attack, and hundreds more arrests are still in the works. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky said that Hodgkins participated in the grave danger to our democracy, and that both Capitol staffers and law enforcement personnel who fought off rioters will “bear emotional scars for many years, if not forever.”

Sedky said that “January 6 was an act of domestic terrorism” and that Hodgkins was flouting his disrespect for the law, and that there is a need to promote respect for the law and deter future potential criminals for engaging in such conduct.

“He willingly joined the fray, and he steadfastly remained a part of it,” Sedky said, nothing that a significant sentence would send a “loud and clear message” to potential rioters thinking about a “sequel to the January 6 attack/”

Hodgkins told the judge he was “truly remorseful” and regretful of what he did on January 6. He said he made a “foolish decision” and allowed himself to put his “passion” before his “principles.”

“I came to D.C. with the intention of supporting a president I loved,” Hodgkins said. “The storming of the U.S. Capitol building is not something I had any idea would happen.”

Hodgkins said he does “realize that my involvement did still contribute to the greater problem that took place.” He also said he recognizes that President Joe Biden is “rightfully and respectfully the president of the United States.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Arizona official: Voting machines are unusable because recount firm broke ‘chain of custody’

May 24, 2021

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs informed Maricopa County officials on Thursday, May 20, that hundreds of the state’s vote-tabulating machines should no longer be used because there is no way of knowing whether they were tampered with while out of the county’s custody and under the control of State Senate Republicans and the controversial Cyber Ninjas company conducting the recount of last November’s presidential vote, HuffPost reports.

Hobbs wrote the letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors after being advised of the problem by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  New machines reportedly could cost the state millions of dollars.

According to HuffPost, “This represents the latest astonishing snafu in a circus recount of 2.1 million Maricopa County votes by a company that has no experience with ballots or elections and that is run by a right-wing conspiracy theorist who was convinced months ago that any audit would turn up hundreds of thousands of votes for Donald Trump.”

The Ninjas are subjecting ballots to ultraviolet light in an outlandish hunt for bamboo fibers, which they are convinced would be evidence of tampering by China.

Hobbs said a strict “chain of custody” procedure to safeguard the integrity of votes was broken when the county was forced last month to turn over voting machines to Senate Republicans and the Cyber Ninjas, who then had total control without supervision. Critics are convinced that countless ballots have already been altered, stolen, trashed or gone missing.

Such a break in the chain of custody constitutes a serious “cyber incident to critical infrastructure — an incident that could jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity and availability of digital information,” Hobbs warned. Access must be strictly limited and tracked, she noted, but Cyber Ninjas’ procedures, “if any,” are unknown, and “troubling security lapses” have been witnessed.

If the county uses the machines again, Hobbs said, her office would consider “decertification proceedings” that would ban their utilization.

The list of missteps by Cyber Ninjas is driving a wedge between Republicans in the state. State GOP Senator Paul Boyer said earlier this month that he regrets initially supporting the recount. “It makes us look like idiots,” he said of the vote audit launched by Senate Republicans. “I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

Early last week, former President Donald Trump furiously complained about voter files that the Cyber Ninjas were unable to find—but only because workers had no idea where to look, said the head of the county’s Board of Supervisors, Jack Sellers, a Republican.

The head of county elections, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, also a Republican, called Trump “unhinged” for parroting—then amplifying—Cyber Ninjas’ lies.

Indeed, the county board fired off a scathing letter Monday to the president of the state Senate demanding an immediate end to the audit that has “become a spectacle that is harming all of us.”

Sellers called the operation a “circus” involving “purple lights and spinning tables” and hunts for bamboo, which are “not things that serious auditors of elections do. You are photographing ballots and … sending those images to unidentified places and people,” the letter stated.

“It is time to end this,” the letter concluded. “For the good of the Senate, for the good of the Country, and for the good of the Democratic institutions that define us as Americans.”

The Arizona vote was certified nearly six months ago by Republican Governor Doug Ducey after several recounts failed to find any irregularities. Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state. Biden edged out his rival by more than 2 percentage points―about 45,000 votes―in Maricopa County.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Chlorophyll water is all over TikTok. But is it actually good for you?

My 13, 2021

Chlorophyll water has been gaining popularity since 2016, when celebrities began touting its health and beauty benefits. Now, TikTokers are claiming in viral videos that it can help treat acne and inflamed skin, reduce body odor, prevent cancer, and support gut health, HuffPost reports.

The most popular TikToks―which have garnered 1.5 million to 2 million “likes” to date―promote chlorophyll water’s transformative effects on the skin. In the videos, TikTokers show their skin’s progress over time and advise adding liquid chlorophyll drops to water rather than applying chlorophyll topically or swallowing a chlorophyll pill.

“Drinking liquid chlorophyll seems to hit on people’s intuitions about naturalness and purity, because you are taking water and adding something that comes from plants, which are instinctively viewed as pure,” noted Andrew Shtulman, a professor of Psychology at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

It is also easier to swallow chlorophyll than, say, cook green vegetables or exercise. After all, these health-boosting activities “take more effort, or we might not have the resources to purchase the materials or access to a space where we need to do them,” Shtulman said.

That said, HuffPost cautions, don’t expect it to be the cure TikTok users are making it sound. Like most things related to your well-being, there isn’t one magical solution or a quick fix. Here’s what to know:

First, it is important to remember that dietary supplements are not regulated or required to undergo Food and Drug Administration approval, said Judy Simon, a registered dietitian and nutritionist and adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington.

“Anyone can make all kinds of claims about chlorophyll supplements,” said Simon, so approach cautiously when you see them on your TikTok “For You” page.

To assess the true effectiveness of liquid chlorophyll, you need to look at chlorophyllin, a semi-synthetic form of chlorophyll found in liquid chlorophyll that is different from the natural version contained in plants, Simon said. This form allows it to be mixed into water and dissolve well.

However, HuffPost reports,the limited number of human studies on chlorophyllin’s effect on skin focus on topical application, as opposed to ingestion, and these studies involve only 10 people or fewer.

Board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park emphasized that better research is needed to uncover the benefits of using topical or liquid chlorophyll supplements.

While she did note that chlorophyll may hold potential benefits for the skin because “its antioxidant properties help with anti-aging and it also has anti-inflammatory properties to help treat acne,” the research remains limited.

Ultimately, Park advised against relying on chlorophyll as your sole antioxidant or acne treatment. And you can reap the benefits of natural chlorophyll by eating green vegetables, drinking matcha, or consuming spirulina, Simon said.

Existing studies are still inconclusive when it comes to drinking liquid chlorophyll for other health reasons. Some viral videos claim it can do everything from reduce body odor to prevent types of cancer, but there’s no solid evidence to suggest this is true.

A single study on mice did find that drinking chlorophyllin mixed with water may regulate the gut microbiome. But Simon said this doesn’t provide enough evidence for her to recommend it to her clients to boost their gut health.

After drinking chlorophyll water, you may experience side effects such as diarrhea or green-colored stools. Some experience an allergic reaction or have stomach cramps, prompting some people to seek medical help.

Drinking chlorophyll water isn’t likely to damage your skin, Park said. But it is still unclear whether chlorophyllin has other adverse impacts on your body when you use it long-term, since the only safety data that currently exists is for taking 300 milligrams daily for up to three months, Simon said.

And for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, safety data does not yet exist, Simon said. If you fall into one of these groups, your doctor will likely advise you to avoid drinking chlorophyllin during these periods.

You also may be advised to avoid it if you take medications that increase your sensitivity to sunlight, like some antidepressants or blood pressure medication, as chlorophyllin can increase your chances of sunburn.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Lindsey Graham: GOP would wither on the vine without Trump

May 10, 2021

In a May 6 appearance on Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) —Donald Trump’s frequent golf partner and protector—said that the GOP could not “grow” or “move forward” without the leadership of the former president, the HuffPost reports.

Speaking to Fox’s Sean Hannity, Graham weighed in on the looming GOP purge of the House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from the party’s leadership team over her opposition to Trump’s claims of election piracy and his instigation of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

And he wasn’t all that sympathetic to her plight.

“Can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no,” he said on Fox News on Thursday night. “I’ve always liked Liz Cheney, but she’s made the determination that the Republican Party can’t grow with President Trump. I’ve determined we can’t grow without him.” 

The reaction was eruptive—and the pushback from liberals was immediate.

 “He sounds like a ’90s R&B singer, like, ’I can’t go on, I can’t imagine my future without you,” said commentator Jason Johnson of Morgan State University on MSNBC. “As usual, Lindsey Graham has about as much political integrity and stability as a weather vane.”

And on Twitter, Graham’s critics were quick to similarly call him out: @darth tweeted at 10:11 p.m., “clearest admission the republican party is now merely a trump cult.”

Moments later, @JamesSurowiecki tweeted, “In two tries, Donald Trump never managed to get even 47% of the popular vote, and yet Lindsey Grahm thinks the GOP can’t live without him. That is such a grim commentary on the state of the Republican Party.”

And the next tweet, out of many, from @perryspeaks1, opined, “This is the most pathetic thing I’ve seen. Lindsey Grahm clearly had his spine surgically removed. No other explanation.”

At press time, Graham had not elaborated on his messaging.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Michael Cohen predicts Rudy Giuliani will flip on Trump

May 3, 2021

On April 29, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer,” gloated on CNN about the FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office in New York City.

Having been through the experience, himself, Cohen had warned Giuliani—who replaced him as Trump’s personal attorney and fixer from 2016 through 2020 during his White House years—that he was likely to be the next fall guy.

“Rudy, I told you so,” Cohen said on CNN, according to a report by HuffPost. “…What I told him was that Donald Trump doesn’t care about anyone or anything, that he will be the next one to be thrown under the bus. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

Federal agents seized electronic devices in the April 28 early morning raids on Giuliani’s properties —a major escalation in the investigation of his dealings with Ukraine. It’s believed to be linked at least in part to his involvement with the country when Trump was trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son, who had been on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

“Who knows what Rudy was involved with,” Cohen said. “What we’re going to find out is there are text messages, there are emails, there are different types of communication apps that the FBI knows how to reestablish, even if Rudy, who I don’t think is technological, tried to delete or what have you.”

Indeed, HuffPost reports, Cohen speculated that investigators would be looking at conversations between Giuliani and his Ukrainian associates but might expand their search to others in Trump’s orbit who could be implicated by Giuliani’s correspondence.

Giuliani is notorious for his technological slip-ups and lack of cellphone security, having revealed sensitive information to multiple journalists via butt dials.

“Rudy’s an idiot,” Cohen said. “Rudy behaves in such an erratic manner that who knows what’s on those telephones or what’s on his computers.”

Cohen said he believed that Giuliani would turn on Trump, if necessary.

“Do I think Rudy will give up Donald in a heartbeat? Absolutely. He certainly doesn’t want to follow my path down into a 36-month sentence for something as innocuous as a hush money payment to a porn star … at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.”

Cohen, now one of Trump’s biggest critics, is under house arrest serving the remaining months of a three-year prison sentence. He pleaded guilty in 2018 for crimes that included lying to Congress during the Russia investigation; and campaign finance violations, including the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Research contact: @HuffPost

GOP lawmaker’s family calls him out over insurrection in scathing ad to be shown on Fox News

April 5, 2021

Three siblings of Representative Paul Gosar (R-Arizona)—Jennifer, David, and Tim—say in a 60-second advertising spot that he’s one the key instigators of the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol carried out by pro-Trump insurrectionists  and they want him held accountable, HuffPost reports.

“He should have criminal consequences,” one of his brothers, Tim Gosar, said in a video from the conservative group Republican Accountability Project. “And if he’s found guilty, he should go to jail.”

In the ad, two of Gosar’s brothers and one of his sisters claim that the Arizona legislator helped spread false conspiracy theories after the election; and worked with one of the key organizers of the January  6 “Stop the Steal” rally, which turned into an attack on the Capitol.

“There is no one member of Congress more responsible for the attack on the Capitol than Congressman Paul Gosar,” one of his sisters, Jennifer Gosar, said in the ad, which will run this week on Fox News in Gosar’s district; as well as in Flagstaff, where he lives, but which is not part of his district:

The three siblings featured in the video—posted to YouTube on April 2, and already gleaning 25,000 views as of noon on the same date—suggest that he be expelled from Congress over his role in the insurrection and his attempts in the House to overturn the election results from multiple states.

Gosar’s siblings have spoken out against him in the past. In 2018, six of his brothers and sisters united to endorse his opponent, notes HuffPost..

“It would be difficult to see my brother as anything but a racist,” one of his sisters, Grace Gosar, said in a video.

Since then, the congressman has done little to change that impression: Gosar spoke at a white nationalist event in Florida earlier this year and last month he tweeted a message with the motto of a white nationalist organization.

The Republican Accountability Project—which has been calling out enablers of former President Donald Trump’s election lies by name—also created an online feature to allow voters to see if their lawmakers tried to overturn the election results and make a pledge not to support anyone who did.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Fowl play: Ravens snatch groceries from Alaska Costco customers

March 30, 2021

While Edgar Allen Poe described the raven as an “ungainly fowl” in his famous poem, shoppers in Anchorage, Alaska, would say that these birds are both nimble and light-fingered.

Indeed, according to a report by HuffPost, a growing number of Anchorage-based Costco shoppers are reporting that ravens have stolen their groceries in the store’s parking lot.

Matt Lewallen said he was packing his groceries into his car in the parking lot of the Anchorage Costco when ravens swooped in to steal a short rib from his cart, the Anchorage Daily News reported on March 26. “I literally took ten steps away and turned around, [when] two ravens came down and instantly grabbed one out of the package, ripped it off and flew off with it,” Lewallen said.

Lewallen said the piece of meat was about 4 inches by 7 inches large—providing a sizable meal for a strapping bird.

“They know what they’re doing; it’s not their first time,” Lewallen said. “They’re very fat so I think they’ve got a whole system there.” And once he got back home, he noticed that one of the ravens had taken a poke at another rib but did not rob it.

“I cut that meat out and started marinating it and my wife said, ‘That’s gross, we should take it back,’ ” Lewallen said. “Costco actually took it back even after we had started marinating them and gave us a full refund.”

Additional raven thief sightings have emerged on social media. “My parents were minding their business after a shop and made it home with one less steak!” Kimberly Waller wrote on Facebook. “The bird snatched it right out of the pack in the parking lot.”

Anchorage resident Tamara Josey replied to Waller’s post and referred to the ravens as “calculating.” She said ravens “ hovered” over her in an attempt to steal her groceries.

“I had two ravens, one that was on the car next to me and he kept squawking really loud,” Josey said. “He would sit on the car and stare at me, then hop next to the bed of the truck on the other side, and he kept going back and forth. The other raven was on the ground. He kept trying to pull — I had those little mini-melons you have in the mesh baggies — he kept trying to grab the netting and pull my melons off the cart.”

A raven started to fly in a circle around Josey until she got them to scram. “He was waiting for another opportunity to grab the melons off the cart, but they never were deterred,” she said. “They just stayed posted, waiting for their next opportunity to steal something out of my cart.

“They are very dedicated to their mission,” she added.

A manager at an Anchorage Costco declined to comment to the newspaper about the raven thieves.

The Anchorage Audubon Society tallies the raven population every December. The group reported 923 common ravens in 2018, 621 in 2019; and 750 birds in 2020.

Rick Sinnott, a former wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said hundreds of ravens fly to Anchorage in the winter for food. After winter turns to spring, most of the ravens leave, Sinnott said.

But before they do, the ravens stick around to pluck assorted meats, fruits, and vegetables.

“For years, decades, they’ve watched people in parking lots of grocery stores with all this food,” Sinnott said. “They know what a piece of fruit looks like in a grocery cart because they’ve seen it on the ground or seen it in a garbage can.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Watt a concept: Volkswagen preps to change name to ‘Voltswagen’ in U.S.A.

March 30, 2021

The iconic Volkswagen brand is preparing to change its name to “Voltswagen” in the United States, in order to highlight its massive investment in electric vehicles.

The German automaker’s announcement about the name change appeared briefly on its media website on March 29 before it was yanked; it was apparently released too soon, reported USA Today. Officials were mum about the premature announcement; but a source confirmed to that newspaper, CNBC and other media including the HuffPost, that the statement was accurate.

“More than a name change, ‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility,” said the statement before it was pulled.

The name change was supposed to happen in May.

“The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs,” the release said.

Electric models will reportedly carry the name, “Voltswagen,” while gas-powered vehicles will retain the standard “VW” identification. To preserve elements of Volkswagen’s heritage, the company plans to retain the dark blue color of the VW logo for gas vehicles and will use light blue for the new “EV-centric branding.”

The company is about to debut the ID.4, its first long-range electric SUV, in the United States. It’s part of a new lineup of Volkswagen’s ID electric vehicles, including the ID Buzz, a rerun of its microbus. That’s expected to roll out next year in Europe and in America the following year, CNET noted.

The automaker expects that more than 70% of its brand’s European sales and 50% of sales in the U.S.A. will be electric vehicles by 2030, reported CNBC.

Research contact: USATODAY

MSNBC’S Chris Hayes reveals duplicitous hidden message in Trump’s new PAC name

March 11, 2021

MSNBC host Chris Hayes noticed something about the name of Donald Trump’s new PAC—to which the former president is urging his supporters to donate, instead of other Republican causes, including the RNC, the HuffPost reports.

He explicitly told his supporters not to give money to anyone but him, telling the faithful to donate through his Save America PAC,” Hayes said during All In on Tuesday, March 9. “That’s SAP, for short.”

According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition for sap is “a fool; someone who is prone to being taken advantage of.)

The former POTUS added, “No more money for RINOS [Republicans in Name Only. They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base—they will never lead us to Greatness.”

Trump has been engaged in an increasingly nasty feud with GOP organizations over fundraising. Last week, his attorneys even sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Republican National Committeedemanding that it stop using his name in fundraising messages.

The RNC said it would continue to market Trump, citing its First Amendment right to do so, the HuffPost noted.

Hayes said there’s really just one core issue for Trump: The former president “hates the notion anyone’s making money off of him and he’s not getting cut in.” Hayes called that a “huge neurosis” and predicted the increasingly ugly battle will only get more heated.

“He’s not going to sit back. There’s not gonna be any kind of permanent arrangement or truce here,” Hayes said. “This is going to be a constant source of tension for the RNC.”

Indeed, Trump on Tuesday released yet another statement saying he supports the party, “but I do not support RINOs and fools, and it is not their right to use my likeness or image to raise funds.”

Then Trump again urged supporters to give to SAP.

Research contact: @HuffPost

In a volte-face, Mitch McConnell will back Merrick Garland for attorney general

February 25, 2021

He gave him the cold shoulder in 2016, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said Tuesday that he would back the nomination of Merrick Garland to be the next U.S. attorney general, the HuffPost reports.

Politico asked the Kentucky Republican if he supported Garland’s nomination, even after he refused to allow a hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court five years ago.

“I do,” McConnell told the publication. He declined to elaborate.

President Joe Biden tapped Garland—a former federal prosecutor who led the investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing—to be his attorney general shortly after his inauguration last month. He has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 1997.

McConnell refused to consider Garland’s nomination by then-President Barack Obama in 2016 following the February 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia—arguing that a vacancy in an election year should be decided by the American people. Donald Trump won that election and nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench in 2017.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last year—just months before the election that saw Biden elevated to the presidency, the HuffPost notes—Republicans quickly moved to fill her seat with Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day.

McConnell called his unprecedented efforts to block Garland the “most consequential thing I’ve ever done” and the peak achievement in his effort to reshape the nation’s judiciary.

At his confirmation hearing this week, Garland vowed to restore independence to the Justice Department and tackle growing domestic issues. He said the ongoing investigation into the deadly riot at the Capitol will be a priority, as will the growth of domestic extremism.

“I do not plan to be interfered with by anyone,” Garland told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. He added that the “attorney general represents the public interest,” a subtle jab at his predecessors who have been criticized for politicizing the role.

Other top Republicans have already announced their support for Garland, including Senators. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Thom Tillis (North Carolina). McConnell’s backing could lead to other GOPers voting in favor of Garland’s nomination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on his nomination on March 1, and his final confirmation vote in the full chamber could take place sometime in the next week.

Research contact: @HuffPost