Posts tagged with "Twitter"

It’s a dog’s life: Supermarket security guard goes viral for shielding pooch from rain with umbrella

July 8, 2020

Ethan Dearman, who patrols the parking lot of the Morrison’s grocery store in Gaffnock, Scotland is being hailed as an “everyday hero” after he was photographed holding an umbrella over a dog’s head in the rain, the Good News Network reports.

Since the sweet moment was captured and posted to Twitter by 25-year-old Mel Gracie last week, it has racked up thousands of tweeted responses, lauding Dearman for his kindness.

When Dearman was asked about the umbrella, he simply told Gracie: “You never know how dogs feels about the rain.”

This is apparently not the first time that Dearman has taken the time to show some love to his canine friends. After the photo was posted to social media, the dog’s owner came forward to identify the dog as Freddie and praised Dearman for his enduring kindness towards him and his family.

“Thanks to security man [Ethan Dearman] for putting the umbrella over Freddie when it started to rain!” tweeted Freddie’s owner David Cherry. “So kind! He’s always so nice to my brother Stuart, my dad, and our Freddie!”

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Trump Administration: Reopen college campuses or lose your international students

July 8, 2020

From the University of Florida to Northern Arizona University to Cal State, many institutions of higher learning have not so much chosen to go digital this fall—as have been forced to, by health concerns for staff and students during the spread of COVID-29. Even Harvard University will deliver lectures online to all classes but those for incoming freshmen.

However, in another invective against immigration, the Trump Administration has prohibited international students from taking their classes fully online. The new guidance could force colleges and universities to offer in-person classes during the pandemic to keep their international students enrolled, Politico reports.

The risky policy was introduced as “a temporary final rule” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday, July 6.

According to Politico, the changes apply to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program for non-immigrant students on F-1 and M-1 visas for academic and vocational coursework. The State Department won’t issue visas to students in online-only programs and Customs and Border Protection will not allow these students to enter the country, according to the press release.

If their school shifts online, international students in the United States will have to leave the country or transfer to a school with some in-person learning.

While colleges and universities wanted more clarity on how to keep their international students enrolled, the new guidance will “sow confusion and ncertainty,” Brad Farnsworth, vice president of the American Council on Education (ACE), told the news outlet. “There’s going to be a scramble for interpretation and colleges will be craving that certainty and they’ll be asking the U.S. government to help clarify to get additional details on interpretation.”

In concert with the press release, Politico noted, President Donald Trump and FLOTUS Melania Trump planned to participate in a “National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools” at 3 p.m. in the East Room at the White House on Tuesday, July 7. On Monday, Trump tweeted: “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”

The president later followed up with a jab at former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats, tweeting that they “don’t want to open schools in the Fall for political reasons, not for health reasons! They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also hopped on Twitter, and agreed with Trump, adding: “Learning must continue for all students. American education must be fully open and fully operational this fall!”

Research contact: @politico

Trump defends Confederate flag in latest appeal to white voters

July 7, 2020

President Donald Trump—who posted a video of one of his supporters whooping the phrase, “White Power,” just last week on Twitter—spent Monday morning, July 6, bashing NASCAR’s decision to prohibit Confederate flags at its races; while also falsely asserting that a top Black driver, Darrell (Bubba) Wallace, had engaged in a hoax involving a noose found in his garage stall.

Trump’s reference to the Confederate flag—and its role in a sport followed by the mostly white fans among whom the president remains popular—was “the latest remark by the president as he tries to rally his culturally conservative base behind his struggling re-election effort,” The New York Times reported.

While NASCAR and other organizations have moved to retire symbols of the Confederacy, and lawmakers in Mississippi voted to bring down the state flag featuring the Confederate emblem, Trump has increasingly used racist language and references to portray himself as a protector of the history of the American South. He has called the phrase “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate,” and he has repeatedly tried to depict pockets of violence during protests against entrenched racism as representative of the protest movement as a whole.

The president also delivered official speeches over the weekend that also emphasized defending American heritage, although he avoided explicit references to totems of the Confederacy.

“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter on Monday.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina and a friend of the president, departed from his usual praise on Monday, saying that he disagreed with Trump’s tweet.

“They’re trying to grow the sport,” Graham said, according to the CNN reporter Manu Raju, referring to NASCAR’s ban on confederate flags, which it announced last month. “And I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life and if you’re in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business.”

Graham, who is facing a strong challenge from Jaime Harrison, a Black Democrat, in his re-election bid, according to the Times, said that “one way you grow the sport is you take images that divide us and ask that they not be brought into the venue. That makes sense to me.” He said that Mr. Wallace does not have “anything to apologize for,” and that his fellow drivers should be applauded for supporting him.

“I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude more than being worried about it being a hoax,” Graham said, according to Mr. Raju.

The noose incident last month at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama came to an end after  F.B.I. officials, who were called in by NASCAR, found that the knot had been tied into the rope as early as October 2019, well before anyone would have known that Mr. Wallace would be assigned that stall for the race.

Another NASCAR driver, Tyler Reddick, replied to Trump on Twitter Monday, saying, “We don’t need an apology. We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support.”

According to the Times, Trump’s tweet came just days after he delivered a divisive speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota as part of the July 4 holiday, in which he denounced Democrats as radical anarchists and said that children are taught in schools to “hate” the United States.

“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” the presient said in what was clearly a campaign speech.

Research contact: @nytimes

All in the family: It’s hard to find a Trump who hasn’t voted by mail

June 24, 2020

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning, June 22, to rant about the threat he believes mail-in ballots pose to the integrity of U.S. elections—but his family seems to have never gotten the message, according to a report by The Daily Beast.

The POTUS  fired off another social media fusillade against the practice of submitting ballots through the USPS, which he has previously labeled as “horrible,” “terrible,” and “corrupt,” as well as “dangerous,” “fraudulent,” and for “cheaters.”

The Daily Beast opined, “The tweet on Monday, like his prior statements, reflected his fears over the expansion of vote-by-mail policies in several states amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ”

 “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” Trump tweeted in all-capital letters.

But such fears apparently have not deterred either Trump, himself, or members of his immediate family from entrusting their ballots to the U.S. mail.

In fact, the Beast reports, the White House has acknowledged that the president mailed in ballots in New York in 2018 and in Florida this year—and the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has reported that First Lady Melania Trump recently also has taken advantage of the Sunshine State’s remote voting program.

On reviewing records from the Manhattan Board of Elections, The Daily Beast discovered that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and the First Lady all had ballots mailed to them in Washington, D.C., as recently as the 2018 election cycle, and have done so since decamping to the capital three years ago. Eric Trump, who remains in New York, similarly exercised his franchise via envelope and stamp in 2017. 

Various errors—from the First Lady’s forgetting to sign the crucial affidavit, to the First Daughter’s sending her ballot back too late, to Kushner’s failure to mail it back at all—prevented the Washington-based wing of the family’s votes from counting in 2017. But the Board of Elections documents show they all successfully returned their votes in the most recent election cycle.

Neither Eric Trump nor the White House immediately provided an on-the-record response. The president and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who. the Tampa Bay Times found has voted by mail 11 times in the past decade, have sought to distinguish between absentee voting and “mass mail-in voting.”

But experts assert there is little difference between the two processes, which are both already widespread. Records show nearly 67,000 people besides the Trumps sent in absentee ballots in the 2018 general election in New York City, while the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 33 million people voted by mail in the 2016 presidential race.

The president’s spokeswoman and immediate family aren’t the only executive branch staff taking advantage of the system: Business Insider reports that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife voted via mail as recently as April. 

Monday’s rant marked the first time that the president has warned that hostile nations might dabble in the American mail stream. In the past, he has largely warned that blue states might refuse to send ballots to GOP-controlled districts, and claimed that U.S.-based fraudsters resort to outright robbery, The Daily Beast notes..

“They steal them, they hold up mailmen, they take them out of mailboxes, they print them fraudulently,” the president told radio host Michael Savage earlier this month.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Twitter whacks 32,000 state-linked agitprop accounts from Russia, China, and Turkey

June 15, 2020

Twitter has announced that it has shut down 32,242 accounts linked to the governments of Russia, China and Turkey that are peddling disinformation, The Huffington Post reports.

“Every account and piece of content associated” with “three distinct operations … attributed to the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Turkey” have been “permanently removed from the service,” the social media company said in a statement on Thursday, June 11.

Twitter and other social media companies were harshly criticized in the wake of the 2016 presidential election for failing to curb propaganda—especially from accounts launched by the Kremlin in an apparent bid to sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Twitter on Thursday reemphasized the company’s vow to provide more vigorous and transparent action to weed out false conversations being peddled to manipulate a nation’s politics.

“Ultimately our goal is to serve the public conversation, remove bad faith actors, and to advance public understanding of these critical topics,” Twitter said. 

According to the HuffPost, the social media platform went on to note, “We’re disclosing new state-linked information operations to our public archive — the only one of its kind in the industry. Originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Turkey, all associated accounts and content have been removed. https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/information-operations-june-2020.html 

Twitter provided few details about specific content campaigns, and most of the affected accounts appeared to be aimed at manipulating citizens inside the three nations.

Specifically, Twitter removed 1,152 accounts (which, the company said, had tweeted 3.4 million times) associated with Current Policy, a “media website engaging in state-backed political propaganda within Russia,” including activities “promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents,” according to the company.

The accounts, which also disseminated “anti-Western content,” violated Twitter policy because they engaged in “cross-posting and amplifying content in an inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends,” the company said.

The 7,340 “fake and compromised accounts” in Turkey (which tweeted 36.9 million times) were linked to the youth wing of the ruling Justice and Development Party, and were used primarily to “amplify political narratives favorable” to the ruling party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Twitter.

The 23,750 accounts (tweeted 348,608 times) linked to the Chinese government were tweeting mostly in Chinese languages and “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China, while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong,” Twitter said. Tweets also praised China’s response to COVID-19, especially compared with how the U.S. or Taiwan addressed the pandemic.

The Huffington Post notes that the messages removed by Twitter have been archived for study and have been shared with researchers at the Internet Observatory of Stanford University and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Research contact: @HuffPost

 

 

Senate panel votes to require Pentagon to assign new names to bases dubbed for Confederates

June 12, 2020

The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require the Pentagon to rename bases and other assets that are named after Confederate military leaders, a source confirmed to The Hill.

The move comes as Americans have hit the streets for 16 nights straight to protest the murder in Minnesota of George Floyd on May 25—and to assert that Black Lives Matter.

The amendment, offered by committee member Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), was approved by voice vote on Wednesday, June 10, during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the source familiar with the situation told The Hill.

The amendment would give the Pentagon three years to remove the Confederate names.

The news, which was first reported by Roll Call, comes after President Donald Trump said he would “not even consider” renaming the Army bases, insisting on his Twitter feed:

It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.

Just two days before Trump’s tweets, an Army spokesperson said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were “open” to renaming the 10 bases that are named after Confederate military officers.

Specifically, the bases, which are in Southern states, are Fort Lee, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Polk, Fort Pickett, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Rucker and Camp Beauregard.

During a briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said Trump would veto the NDAA if the massive policy bill mandated changing the names of the bases.

The inclusion of the amendment to force the Pentagon to change the base names, coupled with McEnany’s veto threat, potentially puts the White House on a collision course with Congress over what’s generally considered a must-pass bill. Republicans disinclined to confront the president still have opportunities to strip the amendment if they want, such as when the bill hits the Senate floor as soon as next week.

Research contact: @thehill

Trump offers dubious conspiracy theory about elderly protester shoved off his feet by Buffalo cops

June 10, 2020

President Donald Trump advanced an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory on Tuesday, June 9, about the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo who suffered head injuries after he was pushed to the ground by police and hit his head on the sidewalk, USA Today reports.

“75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment,” Trump said in a morning tweet.

Citing a report on conservative news network OANN, Trump said: “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” He also said Gugino “could be” an anarchist “provocateur,” but provided no evidence for that assertion.

Two suspended Buffalo police officers have been charged with assault and accused of intentionally pushing Gugino, who was seen bleeding from the back of the head after he hit the sidewalk.

Gugino, described by a friends as a man of peace seeking justice, was in serious but stable condition following the incident on Thursday.

Kelly Zarcone, Gugino’s attorney, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Gugino has always been a peaceful protester who loves his family, and “no one from law enforcement has suggested otherwise.

“So we’re at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation against him,” she added.

Critics expressed outrage over Trump’s tweet.

Trump sent the tweet just hours before the funeral of George Floyd, the man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police triggered protests nationwide, including massive demonstrations in cities like Washington, D.C., and Buffalo.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Romney is first Republican in Senate to break ranks, march with DC protesters

June 9, 2020

Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah marched with demonstrators toward the White House on Sunday, June 7—the first Republican senator to join the thousands across the country protesting the death of George Floyd while in police custody, The New York Times reported.

Romney, who marched with a group of Christians, told a Washington Post reporter that he had joined the protest to show that “… we need to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.”

In joining the protest, Mr. Romney again found himself at odds with President Donald Trump, who has pushed for a military response to the unrest. He also has  distanced himself from most of his party, as when he became the sole Republican senator to vote to remove Trump from office, the Times notes.

But not the only U.S. legislator: Last week, Representative Will Hurd of Texas, the lone black Republican in the House, joined a peaceful protest, marching alongside Floyd’s family.

Democrats, by contrast, have made a point of supporting and participating in the rallies. Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) was hit by pepper spray during a demonstration in her state late last month, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) made a trip last week to briefly speak to protesters gathered outside the Capitol.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) was seen on Saturday handing out water bottles to protesters marching through Washington, while Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) attended a protest and handed out masks to people walking by.

The visibility of politicians at the protests “does matter to a degree,” Vania Brown, a protester from Maryland who had come to join the marches in Washington on Sunday, told the Times. “But right now, I’m skeptical of any political party.”

The civil unrest around the country, coupled with renewed calls to address police brutality against people of color, has amplified pressure on lawmakers—particularly Republicans—to address not only police officers’ use of force; but also racial discrimination, and the economic and social disparities that the coronavirus pandemic has further exposed.

According to the Times report, Democrats were expected on Monday to unveil sweeping legislation that would make it easier to prosecute police misconduct and recover damages from officers found to have violated civil rights.

In the coming weeks, the Senate and the House both plan to hold hearings on proposals to improve policing and counter racial discrimination.

Compared with previous instances in which black men have died after police officers have used excessive force, Republicans have been almost uniformly outraged at the case of Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The administration’s move to crack down on demonstrators prompted a rare break with President Trump, the Times said, as some Republicans moved to distance themselves from the president’s threats to send the military to confront protesters. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) went so far as to endorse scathing criticism from Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary, of Trump’s handling of the protests.

Among Republicans, Romney in particular has been vocal in condemning the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death, saying last month that “the George Floyd murder is abhorrent.”

He has also reflected on how his father, George Romney, participated in a civil rights march in the 1960s as governor of Michigan, quoting him on Twitter and sharing a photo of him at the protest in the 1960s in Detroit.

“Force alone will not eliminate riots,” Senator Romney quoted his father saying. “We must eliminate the problems from which they stem.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Whatchamacallit candy bar maker asks fans to name its newest creation

June 1, 2020

What’s in a name? Well, according to Hershey’s, it depends what’s in a candy bar—and who knows that better than the customer who eats it?

Now, Fox News reports, the popular bar, Whatchamacallit—launched by the Pennsylvania-based chocolate manufacturer back in 1978—is expanding its “wacky, crazy, crunchy, chewy” brand by releasing another equally layered and equally zany confection in July. But, instead of adding another no-named bar to its repertoire, Whatchamacallit wants its fans to weigh in.

The as-yet-to-be-named candy—slated to be the first released under the Whatchamacallit brand in ten years—will be made up of layers of chocolate rice crisps and peanut butter crème, and covered in chocolate.

If naming the “latest wacky and wild innovation” sounds like a dream come true, simply submit your moniker on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag whatchamacallit and hashtag contest, along with tagging @whatchamacallit on Twitter or @whatchamacallit_bar on Instagram.

The contest will run from June 1 through June 15. The winner will receive $5,000 and a year’s supply of the new chocolate bar, as well as lifetime fame of seeing the name printed on the bar’s packaging.

Research contact: FoxNews

Dorsey says Trump is the ‘twit’ for trying to control social media platforms

May 29, 2020

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey doesn’t scare easily—even when confronted by a raging U.S. president who is threatening to sign a vindictive executive order—meant to hobble Dorsey’s ability to monitor his own platform and correct deceptive posts.

Twitter became the target of the president’s fury after the social media site added a disclaimer to two tweets riddled with inaccuracies that were written and posted by @realDonaldTrump on his feed early last week, The Daily Beast reports.

The first reaction of the POTUS, according to the news outlet, was to try to bully the site by threatening to close down social-media companies that he thinks “show bias” against conservatives—and it was reported late Wednesday, May 27, that he planned to sign  an executive order intended to remove important legal protections from sites like Twitter and Facebook.

In a series of tweets, Dorsey wrote that Twitter will “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

He added: “This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

Despite his new intention to fight disinformation, this week Dorsey denied a widower’s request to remove Trump tweets that baselessly suggested Lori Klausutis was murdered in 2001 by her boss, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

Research contact: @thedailybeast