Posts tagged with "Twitter"

A surprisingly simple explanation of grief

December 31, 2018

In a simple, but powerful December 29 tweet, Lauren Herschel of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, shared “The Ball and the Box” analogy to grief, MSN reported on December 27.

Anguish following the loss of a close family member, friend, or pet is a tricky thing to describe or explain. Everyone grieves differently, and there’s certainly no timeline for how you’re supposed to feel. To show this, Herschel drew two pictures of how sorrow changes over time and why it can bubble up randomly.

Her analogy and the pictures she sketched to explain it already have been retweeted over 4,000 times.

Herschel drew a box (square) with a ball (circle) inside. On the left side of box she penciled in a red “button.”When the grief is new,” she explained, “the ball takes up most of the box and is hitting the button, which represents pain, over and over again. The pain is fairly constant. . You can’t control it – it just keeps hurting. Sometimes it seems unrelenting.””

But, she says, “Over time time, the ball shrinks — but every now and then, it still hits the button and it hurts just as much. It’s better because you can function, day-to-day, more easily. But the downside is that the ball randomly hits the button when you least expect it. Maybe you see someone who reminds you of your loved one. Maybe a certain song plays on the radio. Maybe it comes out of nowhere.”

Herschel says she first heard about the analogy after the recent death of her mother, when a doctor explained it to her. It not only helped her to understand the overwhelming grief she was experiencing after such a fresh loss, but it also gave her clarity about why she still was experiencing grief over her dad (who had been gone for 20 years).

“I think in general feelings, especially the tough ones, are hard to articulate,” she said.

“For most people, the ball never really goes away,” she said in another tweet. “It might hit [with less frequency] and you have more time to recover between hits, unlike when the ball was still giant. I thought this was the best description of grief I’ve heard in a long time.”

She advises that it can take time for the ball in your box to shrink. You shouldn’t feel rushed into getting “over” your grief, and you definitely shouldn’t feel judged for grieving, no matter how long ago it started.

Research contact: @LaurenHerschel

Trump rails against recounts in Florida

November 13, 2018

Even as word came in early on November 12 that Democrat Kyrsten Sinema had taken 49.6% of the Arizona vote in the race for U.S. Senate against the GOP’s Martha McSally (48.1%), President Donald Trump railed against the continuing recounts in Florida—the results of which could change the balance of power in Washington, D.C.

The president alleged, without any solid evidence, that many ballots in the Senate and gubernatorial races were “missing and forged” and that a valid tally  would not be possible, according to a same-day report by the Washington Post.

“An honest vote count is no longer possible—ballots massively infected,” the president tweeted at 7:44 a.m. (ET).

Instead of a recount, Trump suggested that the results from the night of the November 6 midterm election should stand, handing victories to fellow Republicans Rick Scott, the governor, in the Senate race and Ron DeSantis, a former congressman, in the gubernatorial contest.

Must go with Election Night!” the POTUS said.

However, the recounts continue. Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties began retabulating the vote on November 10, while Broward started on November 11. The recounts are happening in accordance with Florida law because of the tight margins in the votes, the Post said.

Notwithstanding those recounts, Trump is not alone . On November 11, Scott went on national television to accuse Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, whom  still is hoping to unseat, of trying to “commit fraud to try to win this election,”  the Post reported, noting, “His campaign said it had filed lawsuits against Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher, the election supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach counties, two Democratic strongholds. Democrats called it desperation by a candidate sitting on a precarious vote lead.”

Scott made his comments in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” after his lead shrank to fewer than 13,000 votes in a race with national stakes. In a separate Fox News television appearance Monday, Scott called Nelson a “sore loser” and alleged that “he’s just here to steal this election.”

Nelson fired back on Twitter on Monday, the Post reported, writing that there is “zero evidence backing up claims by Republican extremists that Democrats are trying to steal the election.”

In the Senate contest, Scott’s lead over Nelson has narrowed to 12,562 votes out of more than 8 million ballots cast, the news outlet said—or a margin of 0.15%, according to an unofficial tally Saturday from the state. State law mandates a machine recount if the margin is half a percentage point or less.

The governor’s race also has tightened, with DeSantis ahead by a mere 0.41%. If that margin holds, it would fall short of the 0.25% threshold for a more involved manual recount.

The election results are slated to be certified on November 20. Newly elected senators are expected to report to Washington, D.C., this week for orientation. Scott said he has not decided his schedule yet. The Senate will swear in new members in January.

Research contact: sean.sullivan@washpost.com

In effort to intimidate voters, Trump and Sessions warn of fraud at polls

November 7, 2018

On the day before the midterm elections, November 5, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued strong warnings about the threat of voter fraud —echoing what the Washington Post characterized as “the president’s baseless claims that massive voter fraud marred his 2016 election and prompting accusations that his administration is trying to intimidate voters.

In a tweet early Monday, Trump said that law enforcement has been “strongly notified” to watch for “ILLEGAL VOTING.” He promised that anyone caught voting improperly would be subjected to “Maximum Criminal Penalties.”

Sessions, in a statement laying out the Justice Department’s plans to monitor ballot access on Election Day, said “fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.

In remarks to reporters on his way to a campaign rally in Cleveland, Trump also falsely claimed that voter fraud is commonplace, the Washington Post said.

“Just take a look,” he said. “All you have to do is go around, take a look at what’s happened over the years, and you’ll see. There are a lot of people—a lot of people—my opinion, and based on proof—that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally. So we just want to let them know that there will be prosecutions at the highest level.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States, the Post reported, noting that the president had formed a commission to study the issue shortly after he took office that was disbanded without finding evidence of fraud after states refused to turn over voter data.

Voting rights advocates denounced Trump’s remarks as a blatant attempt to intimidate voters on the eve of Election Day—and part of a pattern among Republicans, they said, to curtail voting access with strict rules that disproportionately affect voters of color who tend to vote Democratic.

“I find this kind of conduct incredibly anti-patriotic,” Kristen Clarke, who leads the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a voting rights group that has successfully challenged several new voting restrictions across the country this year, told the Post. “At a time when we need our White House and Justice Department speaking out against the relentless campaign of voter suppression in this election cycle, it defies reason.”

Research contact: amy.gardner@washpost.com

Flake urges one-week delay for FBI probe of allegations against Kavanaugh

October 1,  2018

On Friday, September 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 along party lines to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination to the entire Senate for a vote. However, the floor vote may be delayed for as long as one week.

After hearings on September 27 that comprised credible accusations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford—and strong denials from the  nominee—the committee now is considering a variety of demands to conduct a more thorough investigation of the allegations through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A member of the committee, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona) voted with his GOP colleagues, but then called for a delay so that the FBI could investigate the accusations against Kavanaugh.

In addition, the American Bar Association, Yale University, and three Republican governors —Larry Hogan of Maryland, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and John Kasich of Ohio—called for a probe into the charges.

In a letter sent to committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) on the evening after the September 27 hearings,  Robert Carlson, the president of the American Bar Association called on the committee to halt the confirmation vote until “after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others),” he said, “is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court. It must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.

The call for a pause is significant, The New York Times said,  not just because of the bar association’s clout in the legal community, but because an A.B.A. committee had said unanimously a month ago that Judge Kavanaugh was “well-qualified” for the Supreme Court, its highest possible designation. Judge Kavanaugh and his supporters had noted that distinction in arguing for his nomination to be approved by the Senate.

Meanwhile, 48 members of the faculty of Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Yale Law School, sent a letter delineating concerns about “a rush to judgment.” They noted “Where, as here, a sexual assault has been alleged against an individual nominated for a lifetime appointment in a position of public trust, a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth of the matter. Allegations of sexual assault require a neutral factfinder and an investigation that can ascertain facts fairly.  Those at the FBI or others tasked with such an investigation must have adequate time to investigate facts. Fair process requires evidence from all parties with direct knowledge and consultation of experts when evaluating such evidence. In subsequent hearings, all of those who testify, and particularly women testifying about sexual assault, must be treated with respect.

In addition, three Republican governors—John Kasich of Ohio, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont—called for the GOP-controlled Senate to slow down Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and a fourth called the accusations against him “disturbing.”

According to a report by the Huffington Post, Baker and Kasich both weighed in on Twitter. Baker described the allegations as “sickening” and said there should be no Senate vote until an independent investigation is complete. Kasich, who is in his final year as governor and is widely seen as a potential long-shot primary challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020, went further in his own statement, saying he would not support Kavanaugh’s confirmation “in the absence of a complete and thorough investigation.”

Scott made similar remarks to the Burlington Free Press. “This is a lifetime appointment,” Scott said. “And I’m not taking a position on Judge Kavanaugh himself, but we owe it to Americans to make sure that they get it right. Because this doesn’t happen every day. And it’s their obligation to do so. So take your time. Investigate.”

In addition, the Huffington Post reported, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told The Baltimore Sun on September 26 that the accusations were “disturbing” and gave him “great pause.”

He noted,“There are credible charges and big concerns. They need to be heard,” he said after an event in Montgomery County. “They ought to take whatever time it takes to make sure these accusers are heard and he has a chance to respond to them.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)—who, as a committee member, had adamantly defended the nominee during the hearings on September 27—told CNN after the committee vote that he did not think the delay was necessary, but “this is democracy.” He added, “If Jeff feels better about it, I’ll feel better about it,”

Currently, according to Fox News, 56% of U.S. voters would delay the full Senate floor confirmation process on Kavanaugh to allow for more investigation of the allegations against him; and 31% would not delay.

Rsearch contact: @foxnewspoll

Trump postpones military parade until 2019, citing ‘inflated’ costs

August 20, 2018

Everyone loves a parade—or do they? Last February, President Donald Trump asked the Pentagon to plan a parade showcasing U.S. military might—similar to the one that he and the FLOTUS attended in Paris on July 14 in celebration of Bastille Day.

He was in love with the idea of seeing tanks and tactical vehicles rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue—but the American people? Not so much. In fact, based on findings of an informal poll conducted by the Army Times, most people don’t support it. Nearly 9 out of 10, (89%) of that publication’s readers who responded said the parade would be “a waste of money and troops are too busy.” Another 11% supported the idea, describing it as a “great opportunity to show off [the] U.S. military.”

On August 17, The New York Times reported, Trump was forced to postpone plans for a military parade this fall in Washington, D.C.—blaming local officials for inflating the costs and saying they “know a windfall when they see it.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser  pushed back on Twitter, saying that she had “finally got thru” to the president to convey the “realities” of what it costs to stage events like military parades in the city. She put the number at $21.6 million, although, she stipulated, the city’s costs are just a fraction of the total, with federal agencies also kicking in millions of dollars.

A day earlier, the Pentagon said Mr. Trump’s parade to celebrate the military could be postponed to 2019, as officials acknowledged that the event could cost more than $90 million.

The parade was initially scheduled for November 10— Veterans Day weekend—of this year. In a pair of tweets, the POTUS allowed for the possibility of a parade in 2019, the Times said. He speculated that this year he would, instead, attend another parade planned at Joint Base Andrews and a military parade in Paris.

The president also took a jab at the local government in Washington, saying the city is poorly” run. Mayor Bowser, a Democrat, slapped back—mocking the president by ending her tweet with a parenthetical “sad” — a word Trump often uses in his own tweets.

Estimates for such events often are based on past costs for similar parades. For the 2017 inauguration, which included a parade, officials estimated that it would cost the city $20 million, according to The Washington Post. Federal agencies put up millions of dollars, as well. Most of the costs are security-related expenses.

On August 16, Secretary of Denfense James Mattis,  supported his boss by dismissing reports of a cost estimate of more than $90 million, saying, “I guarantee you there’s been no cost estimate.”

Large military parades are atypical in America, although President George H.W. Bush staged one in the nation’s capital in 1991 after the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War.

Research contact: tcopp@militarytimes.com

Haters are outnumbered at ‘Unite the Right 2’ DC rally

August 14, 2018

The organizers expected as many as 400 people to attend the far right, white nationalist/neo-Nazi demonstration billed as Unite the Right 2 in Washington, D.C., on August 11—however they were way outnumbered by the crowd who showed up to protest bigotry and defend diversity, according to a report by Slate.

A small group of about 20 white supremacists—led by Jason Kessler, who also organized the Unite the Right rally last year in Charlottesville—traveled into Washington, D.C. via subway. When they emerged, counterprotestors were waiting for them—shouting, “Go home!” and “You’re not welcome here!”

While the white supremacists had a police escort and their opponents did not, many white nationalists left the rally early—disappointed by the lack of support and drowned out by the chanting of DC Unite Against Hate and about 40 other anti-racism groups, who gathered in a force of nearly 1,000 people to take a stand at the demonstration.

Other neo-Nazis simply did not show up. Kessler told CNN that he blamed the low turnout on logistical issues and confusion regarding the group’s transportation—a claim echoed by at least two men who spoke to reporters. “People are scared to come out after what happened last year,” one of the men added.

“Our message is to let everyone know we support each other,” Maurice Cook, a co-organizer for the March for Racial Justice, told the Washington, D.C. ABC-TV News affiliate, WJLA, where his group gathered in a “United Against Hate” counterprotest in Freedom Plaza.

Kaitlin Moore, 28, of Frederick, Maryland, told CNN she was participating in counterprotests in Lafayette Square to “show this is not okay.”

In a tweet on Saturday morning, President Donald Trump wrote, “We must come together as a nation.I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”

According to CNN, “It was a departure from his comments a year ago, when he said there were ‘very fine people’ on both sides of the conflict in Charlottesville.”

Research contact@dpoliti

Karl Rove compares Trump to Stalin and advises him to ‘tone down’ anti-media rhetoric

August 8, 2018

Karl Rove, the Republican political consultant and policy advisor who is largely credited for the election of George W. Bush in 2000—and widely known for his proclivity for dirty tricks—advised President Donald Trump to cut out his “over the top” anti-media rhetoric during an appearance on Fox News on August 6, according to a same-day report by Mediaite.

Rove’s comments came after Trump took again to Twitter over the weekend, characterizing the news media as “the Enemy of the People,” and alleging, : “[They] purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!”

In short, Mediaite said, Rove told Trump to suck it up. “I think this is over the top,” he said, adding, “. Every president has problems with the media. I was in the White House for seven years, I didn’t like the coverage they gave George W. Bush, particularly the liberal New York Times.”

Rove said the president should criticize the media “on a case-by-case basis,” and “make a respectful disagreement.

“I think calling names is not helpful to our country from any side,” said Bush’s former chief of staff. ”

The former White House official then addressed Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the press.

“That just grates on me,” he said. “I grew up during the time of the Cold War. That is a phrase that was used by [Communist leader] Stalin against the enemies of the communist regime. I think the president would be well advised to tone down the rhetoric.”

Rove went on to note that Trump’s disapproval ratings are high, and that he can’t simply appeal to his “hard-core” supporters at rallies.

According to Gallup, Trump currently has a 38% approval rating and a 57% disapproval rating.

Research contact: @aidnmclaughlin

The knives are out: Cohen says former boss knew about Trump Tower meet, POTUS issues denial

July 30, 2018

The knives are out. The confrontation between President Donald Trump and his former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen has escalated, with Cohen claiming to CNN on July 26 that he was with his then-boss and several other Trump Organization executives in 2016 when Donald Trump, Jr., told his father he could “get dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from the Russians.

On Twitter early on July 27, President Trump strongly denied the story, writing: “… I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?)”

Sources told CNN that not only does Cohen claim that President Trump had advance knowledge of the meeting in Trump Tower involving Donald Trump Jr., as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, but he is willing to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller all about it in support of collusion claims for the Russia investigation. The sources said Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.

It already has been established—in an admission by Trump Jr.—that Trump’s campaign staff expected to receive dirt, which they labeled as “opposition research,” on Clinton at the June 2016 meeting. However, unlike the Trumps, US intelligence agencies say Russia interfered to support Trump’s candidacy.

Cohen is under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York because of his business dealings and efforts during the 2016 campaign to suppress negative stories about Trump. An FBI raid on Cohen’s office in April sought information about taxi owners who had financial dealings with Cohen, CNN has reported.

Cohen has hired Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings, to represent him.

“(Cohen) even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s (Clinton) lawyer,” Trump also wrote, referring to Davis. “Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”

Trump did not respond to shouted questions about Cohen from reporters after speaking about the economy at the White House Friday morning.

In an interview on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” Thursday night, Trump’s lawyer in the Russia investigation, Rudy Giuliani, called Cohen a “pathological liar.”

“I don’t see how he’s got any credibility,” the former New York City mayor said.

In a poll released last week by The Hill, Americans said that they believe that Russia continues to want to interfere in U.S. elections and will do so in the lead-up to the midterms. Jointly conducted by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist, the poll found that 57% of Americans said they believe Russia is likely to attempt to interfere in November; versus 38%, who said the Kremlin is not likely to do so.

Research contact: @maristpoll

Trump unleashes torrent of tweeted threats against Iran

July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump sent out a furious, all-caps tweet aimed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani late on July 22, warning the leader to stop threatening the United States, the Huffington Post reported.

In a late-night screed similar to his “fire and fury” harangue against North Korea last August, the POTUS warned the Iranian politician and Islamic cleric, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH, BE CAUTIOUS!”

According to the German publication, Deutsche Welle (DW), President Rouhani began the exchange earlier in the day by warning the United States that Iran could shut down international oil shipments in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, if Washington continues to provoke his nation—as Rouhani believes America has done by backing out of the nuclear deal framework that it signed with its allies in 2015.

After refusing to support the deal, the Trump administration also had demanded that signatories to the framework end all imports of Iranian oil when the sanctions go into effect in November, but the State Department rolled back those demands saying it would work with countries on a “case-by-case basis.”

“We have always guaranteed the security of this strait,” Rouhani told diplomats in the Iranian capital last Sunday. “Do not play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it forever.”

“Whenever Europe has sought an agreement with us, the White House has sown discord,” Rouhani said. “Americans should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace,” he added. “Likewise a war would be the mother of all wars.”

Rouhani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei have both rejected calls to negotiate with Trump over a replacement sanctions relief deal.

Brigadier Gen. Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander for the country’s Revolutionary Guard, brushed the threatening tweet from President Trump off on July 23 as mere “psychological warfare” against the regime, saying Trump wouldn’t dare act on his threats, the Associated Press reported.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on July 23 reiterated Trump’s warning to Iran, telling Fox News that “if needed, and steps are required, this president is not afraid to take them.

“He’s certainly not going to tolerate the leader of Iran making threats against Americans, making threats against this country, making threats against Israel,” Sanders said. “This is a president who is going to stand up and make sure he is doing what is necessary.”

A majority of Americans wanted the Trump administration to adhere to the Iran nuclear deal, according to a public opinion poll released in early May by Morning Consult and Politico. The poll, which included online interviews with close to 2,000 Americans registered to vote, showed that 56% of respondents expressed support for the deal, while 26% expressed opposition to it. The pollsters described these numbers as a “record high” in support of the deal, and a “record low” in opposition to it.

Research contact: editors@morningconsult.com

Twitter to remove inactive accounts, rolling back users’ follower counts

July 13, 2018

Twitter Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead Vijaya Gadde announced on July 11 that the social media giant will start removing tens of millions of locked, inactive accounts this week—a global initiative that she said would reduce the number of followers displayed on many profiles.

The company has opted to do so, Gadde said, because “we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate.”

Why does an account get locked in the first place? Twitter detects changes in tweeting behavior—and shuts the account down in order to contact the owner to confirm that he or she still has control of it.

Among the suspicious changes in behavior:

  • Tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions;
  • Tweeting misleading links;
  • Blocking of the account by a large number of other members; or
  • Use of email and password combinations from other services that could jeopardize the security of an account.

Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop.

The frozen accounts being deleted represent “about 6% of follows on Twitter,” Ian Plunkett, a Twitter spokesperson, told Politico.

According to the political news outlet, “The move could stoke conservatives’ ire, particularly if President Donald Trump, with his roughly 53.4 million followers as of today, is among the users that lose a large number of followers. Twitter faced heaps of criticism from the right in February for silencing scores of accounts it said were spam or ill-intentioned bots. Conservatives, alleging censorship, branded the episode “#TwitterLockout.”

Will the initiative expand to include Tweets, Likes, and Retweets? Gadde says, “Our ongoing work to improve the health of conversations on Twitter encompasses all aspects of our service. This specific update is focused on followers, because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility. Once an account is locked, it cannot Tweet, Like, or Retweet—and it is not served ads.”

Research contact: @vijaya