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Jul 12
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'Joyous and free'

Lena Dunham took to Instagram this week to announce that she is happier being a few pounds heavier. In a post on Instagram, the creator of Girls and publisher of the Lenny newsletter posted two photos — one on the left that showed her weighing 138 pounds, and one to the right of it in which she said she weighs 162 pounds.

The 32-year-old writer and comedian said life 24 pounds heavier is noticeably different — and better for her physical and mental health. “On the left: 138 pounds, complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work,” Dunham wrote. “Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy. On the right: 162 pounds, happy joyous and free, complimented only by people that matter for reasons that matter, subsisting on a steady flow of fun/healthy snacks and apps and entrees, strong from lifting dogs and spirits.

She concluded the post by making a funny: “As I type I can feel my back fat rolling up under my shoulder blades. I lean in.”

View this post on Instagram

On the left: 138 pounds, complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work. Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy. On the right: 162 pounds, happy joyous & free, complimented only by people that matter for reasons that matter, subsisting on a steady flow of fun/healthy snacks and apps and entrees, strong from lifting dogs and spirits. Even this OG body positivity warrior sometimes looks at the left picture longingly, until I remember the impossible pain that brought me there and onto my proverbial knees. As I type I can feel my back fat rolling up under my shoulder blades. I lean in.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Dunham has been very candid in the past about her health issues. Earlier this year, she revealed she underwent a total hysterectomy to to alleviate her painful symptoms of endometriosis. Her social media followers lauded the candid revelation about her weight gain. “Words cannot express how much I love this 💕💕,” one commenter wrote. Another said, “This is inspiring for me because I recently lost 10lbs due to celiac. My dr is encouraging me to gain and I think no! But then I realize I need to for my health overall.”

And another commenter praised Dunham for being a celebrity and sharing her intimate feelings on an issue many struggle with. “To have someone (especially in the public eye) speak so freely and joyously of what they have accomplished and their journey boosts the moral of all of us who also struggle. Thank you.”

Read the full story at The Independent.

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‘Protection’

Following the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, women are reportedly stocking up on Plan B pills in anticipation of a possible overturning of Roe V. Wade that could allow states to ban abortion and emergency contraceptives. Speaking with TIME magazine, Chicago area librarian and writer Emily Hauser, 53, said that she had bought $70 dollars worth of Plan B within hours of hearing about Kennedy’s retirement. She and other women, she says, are stockpiling the drugs so that even if abortion were to be made illegal they can ensure that their daughters retain some measure of choice.

“I want to make sure I can provide some level of protection. If either [kid] comes to me and says, ‘Oh, God, we made a mistake,’ I’ll say, ‘Here you go,’” she explained. “I can’t do much, but I can do this.”

President Trump’s pledge to put “pro-life justices on the court” in the hopes that Roe v. Wade will someday be overturned, as well as Vice President Mike Pence’s recent affirmation of his intention to see legal abortion ended in the country, has emboldened conservative state politicians who have passed increasingly harsh laws targeting abortion and the doctors who provide the service in an attempt to force the Supreme Court to revisit the Roe v. Wade ruling.

Whether Trump’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court position, Brett Kavanaugh, or the four conservative justices currently sitting on the court would actually rule to overturn Roe v. Wade is unknown. But Kavanaugh’s Catholic faith — and his previous arguments that the government was justified in preventing an undocumented teen immigrant from obtaining an abortion on the basis that women are not entitled to “an immediate abortion on demand” — has made the possibility, at least, an undeniable reality.

Read the full story at TIME.

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Winner

On the grass court at Wimbledon on Thursday, Serena Williams took one step closer to her eighth career Wimbledon title after dispatching Julia Goerges of Germany in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. Her march to the Wimbledon final is coming

“I don’t even know how to feel. I literally didn’t expect to do this well,” Williams said afterward, referring to having just given birth 10 months ago, and suffering near-fatal complications. “A lot of people were saying, ’Oh, she should be in the final,’” the 36-year-old Williams said. “For me it’s such a pleasure and a joy because, you know, less than a year ago, I was going through so much stuff.”

Williams is set to go head to head with 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, also from Germany, in the final on Saturday.

Below, watch highlights of Williams victory in the semi-final.

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‘HOW DARE YOU’

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has denounced Sacha Baron Cohen as “evil” and “exploitive” after discovering that the comedian tricked her into an interview by posing as a disabled U.S. veteran. Until recently, Palin had reportedly been in the dark about who was behind a bizarre interview she participated in last November. A source told PEOPLE magazine the former Alaska governor finally ended the interview after being asked a “horrible” question that offended her. According to the source, the comedian asked her about “a government-funded sex-change operation for Chelsea Clinton” — an apparent joke referring to famous whistleblower and former Army private Chelsea Manning, who underwent hormone treatment therapy under a Department of Defense instruction for “In-Service Transition” after a protracted legal battle with the government.

“Cohen was trying to get Governor Palin to say something homophobic and hateful,” the source said. “She was particularly incensed about that.”

In a lengthy Facebook post published on Tuesday, Palin wrote that she had travelled across the country for an interview that was billed to her as a “‘legit opportunity’ to honor American Vets and contribute to a ‘legit Showtime historical documentary.’” After undergoing a long “perverse” interview that she said exhibited “disrespect of our US military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries,” Palin claims that she and her daughter were purposefully dropped off at the wrong Washington, D.C. airport, leaving them stranded for three days after it caused them to “miss all flights back home to Alaska.”

“I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’ Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime,” she wrote. “Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night, but HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country.”

Cohen has a long history of fooling unsuspecting high-profile government officials and celebrities of all political stripes using one of his famous alter egos, including “Ali G” and “Borat Sagdiyev,” so in that sense, Palin is correct that she has joined a long list of names. Cohen’s new Showtime series, Who is America?, is set to premiere on July 15.

On Friday morning, Palin appeared on Good Morning America and talked more about the interview, which she described as “bizarre” and stepped up her attacks on Cohen, suggesting he should donate profits from the show to veterans groups.

Read the full story at Entertainment Weekly.

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Upstate killer

A North Carolina woman testified in front of her kidnapper, convicted serial killer Todd Kohlhepp, in court on Wednesday, as she seeks $364 million in damages from him for physical assault, battery, and subjecting her to severe emotional distress.

Kala Brown was found chained up in a storage container on the rural property of the so-called Upstate killer in November 2016. Investigators also found the bodies of her boyfriend, Charlie Carver, and couple Johnny and Meagan Coxie buried on the property — helping lead to the conviction of Kohlhepp, who is serving seven life sentences after pleading guilty to the murders of Carver, the Coxes, and four other people shot to death in a bike shop in 2003. Brown has said that she was repeatedly beaten by Kohlhepp during more than two months of confinement after he allegedly used a gun to take her hostage while she was cleaning at his home. She has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Kohlhepp.

Todd Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender who confessed to seven murders and the kidnapping of Kala Brown is shown in this booking photo provided in Spartanburg, South Carolina, November 3, 2016. (Spartanburg County Detention Center/Handout via REUTERS)

In the courtroom, Brown testified about the medical expenses and legal fees she has incurred following her release from captivity. Kohlhepp, meanwhile, chose to represent himself and testified in response to the $26 million in damages being sought by the family of Johnny Coxie. In his comments, the confessed serial killer didn’t deny killing Coxie, but contended that the victim had actually been trying to rob him. Until Kohlhepp’s arrest and confession, the killings had gone unsolved for 13 years.

Brown also appeared before the media following her court appearance, making a brief statement thanking those who had supported her in the wake of her horrific ordeal. “I just want to say thank you to everyone for all the prayers and the work you put into looking for me,” she said. “Anyone out there who ever said a prayer for me, thank you.”

Watch video coverage of the story below.

Read the full story at Fox Carolina.

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‘More inclusive’

The United States Navy is modifying its rules governing acceptable hairstyles as part of an effort to make the military body “more inclusive,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson announced during a Facebook Live session on Tuesday. Appearing alongside Richardson during the announcement were six African-American women sailors, who represented the working group that helped recommend the new hairstyling guidelines. Under the new rules, women will be allowed to wear their hair long such a way that it will be allowed to reach below the lower edge of the collar of a blouse, jacket, or coat in dinner dress uniforms. And all sailors will now be allowed to sport ponytails, single braids, French braids, and dreadlocks so long as they “maintain a neat and professional appearance” and do not inhibit them from wearing uniform headgear or safety equipment.

The Navy has been undergoing a significant makeover in recent years following the introduction of women into armed combat roles in the military in 2015. Following the change, even the elite Navy SEALS were forced to open their ranks to women — but kept their famously stringent physical fitness and strength requirements in place. The Navy had also previously altered its hair policy in 2014 to afford more options to minority women, as well as issuing photo guidance about which hairstyles were permitted in women with short and long hair. In late 2015, the Marine Corps became the first branch of the U.S. military to allow women to lock and twist their hair.

Read the full story at CNN.

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‘Not a joke’

Fresh off her shocking upset of Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for the 14th Congressional district in Queens, New York, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has won yet another election — this time without even declaring her candidacy. In the neighboring 15th Congressional district, Ocasio-Cortez was named the winner of the Reform Party write-in primary over Bronx Representative Jose Serrano. Neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Serrano were actually competing for the party’s nomination. Ocasio-Coretz’s most recent victory, however, was less dramatic than her dominating victory over Crowley, the fourth-ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the city Board of Elections, of the 22 people who received write-in votes in the Reform Party primary, Ocasio-Cortez received the most with nine.

While many would doubtless love to see the progressive millennial and former Bernie Sanders campaign worker representing both districts, state law forbids candidates from running for two different offices simultaneously. So after being informed of her victory on Tuesday evening, Ocasio-Cortez quickly quashed any notion that she would accept the nomination.

“Shockingly — and I’m told this is not a joke — we have ALSO won a primary in the neighboring 15th Congressional District via write-in campaign on the Reform line!,” she wrote in a tweet. “While I am honored that so many Bronxites are excited about our campaign, I will remain the Dem nominee for NY-14.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s victory has rocked the Democratic party, leaving party leaders unsure of whether to fully embrace her. A sign of the clash between the newly-rising and old party power brokers was abundantly apparent on Twitter as a feud between Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley, the congressman she recently defeated, broke out. As one advocacy group leader, the Working Families Party’s Bill Lipton, put it to The New York Times, “You’d think that given the moment we’re in that Democratic leaders would want to help progressive forces to unite.”

Read the full story at The New York Daily News.

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'Radical view'

A columnist for Business Insider has abruptly resigned less than a week after the top editor at the website censored a column she wrote about the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson depicting a transgender man in her next film. Johansson came under fire from LGBT activists who accused her of “[taking] work away from a trans actor” by agreeing to play the role.

Daniella Greenbaum wrote a column that Business Insider published on July 6 titled “Scarlett Johansson is being unfairly criticized for doing her job after being cast as a transgender man.” In the column, Greenbaum argued Johansson was being attacked merely for doing the job of an actor. “Scarlett Johansson is the latest target of the social-justice warrior mob,” Greenbaum wrote in the piece. “The actress is being chastised for, well, acting.”

The full text of the column was apparently taken down from the site within hours of its publication, CNN reported, but it can still be read in its entirety at the Internet Archive. As CNN pointed out, the article was not only removed, but it prompted Business Insider’s global editor in chief, Nicholas Carlson, explain that Greenbaum’s column “did not meet our editorial standards.” He also issued new guidelines for culturally “sensitive columns, analysis, and opinion pieces.”

Scarlett Johansson faced criticism last year over a character she portrayed in the film ‘Ghost In The Shell’ and has come under fire again for the decision to play a transgender man in the upcoming movie Rub and Tug. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

One aspect of Greenbaum’s column that seemed to have run afoul was her use of the term “social-justice warrior.”

“There should be no partisan name-calling, e.g. ‘social justice warriors,’ ‘libtards,’ or ‘rednecks,'” Carlson told employees, according to CNN. “Opinion and arguments should feel reported and researched, and not like quick reactions.”

But Greenbaum maintained that she stood by the piece, and on Thursday informed Carlson that she is resigning over the scrape. She posted her resignation letter on Twitter.

“Can an actor act? That is the question I wanted to weigh in on when I saw the brouhaha about Scarlett Johansson’s role in the upcoming movie Rub and Tug,” Greenbaum wrote in the letter. “My judgment: Yes. A woman can play a man or a trans man.”

She continued, saying, “Apparently, that radical view — that actors should be free to act — is beyond the pale of acceptable opinion, as just a few hours after it went up, the piece was erased from the site following a campaign against me.”

Greenbaum appears to be referencing not only the public backlash to her piece, some of which is visible on the tweet she posted promoting the now deleted column, and also an internal backlash at the website. According to The Daily Beast, several employees at Business Insider were offended by Greembaum’s column.

In the resignation letter, she added that she was “disheartened” by what unfolded, but not “surprised.”

Greenbaum joined Business Insider in April, CNN reports, and previously she worked as an assistant editor at Commentary, a conservative magazine.

Read the full story at CNN.

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‘Emotional barriers’

Images from a body-positive swimsuit shoot held by Indiana boudoir photographer Cindy Johnson have gone viral on social media after she asked women to write the labels they heard applied to themselves on each other’s bodies. The impromptu photoshoot, which featured 16 friends and acquaintances of Johnson on her rural property near Franklin, Indiana, came about after the 44-year-old mother of four grew sick of the inevitable and unceasing advertisements calling on women to get “beach bodies.”

“They are telling me the price of admission to summer is that my soul resides in a specific type of body,” wrote Johnson on Facebook. “SCREW THAT.”

Kenna Sisson, one of Johnson’s friends who attended the shoot, told The Indy Star she didn’t mind when her friend Amy was asked to write the word “Chubby” on Sisson’s chest. She had dealt with such labels — and worse — since childhood, she recalled. But when she was asked to write the word “ugly” on Amy, she found herself bursting into tears.

“I just couldn’t grasp someone so beautiful, inside and out, ever believing the word applied to her,” Sisson said. “It hurts to think of Amy ever feeling that way.”

Part of the point of that exercise, Johnson explained, was to show that people easily accept and internalize harsh statements about themselves — even when the idea of applying such terms to others they cared about was nearly unbearable. Johnson, who began her career in boudoir photography a decade ago after she was asked to take photos as a favor for a friend, acknowledged that she too had been made to feel uncomfortable in her own body ever since her mother signed her up for Weight Watchers when she 10 years old.

“When the clothes come off, people are jolted out of their comfort zone,” she told USA Today. “When the physical barriers come down, the emotional barriers come down, too.”

Read the full story at The Indy Star and visit Johnson’s Facebook page to see all the photos from the shoot.

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Illegal touching?

Prosecutors dropped charges against Stormy Daniels on Thursday afternoon, hours after she was arrested and accused of breaking the Community Defense Act, a reportedly seldom-enforced law that bars anyone but a family member from touching a nude or semi-nude dancer. Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, made the announcement that the charges had been dropped in a post on Twitter and included photographs of the signed motion to dismiss the charges.

Daniels, the adult film star who claims she was paid $130,000 to stay silent about a purported affair she had with Donald Trump years before he became president, was arrested at a strip club in Ohio, the middle of Trump country, late Wednesday night. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was performing at a Sirens club and was arrested and charged because, police said, she forced patrons’ faces into her breasts and used her breasts to smack strip club customers in the face. A spokesperson for the Columbus Police Department said Daniels illegally touched three undercover police officers and accused the adult film star of fondling the breasts of other performers at Sirens strip club. Daniels was charged overnight with three misdemeanor sex offenses. Video showed her in cuffs being led into a police station.

According to one of the documents Avenatti posted online, the law Daniels had been charged with breaking could not be applied because, as The Associated Press noted, it pertains to a performer “who regularly appears nude or seminude” at a club. Wednesday’s performance was Daniels first appearance at Sirens, a point that Avenatti reportedly had argued successfully.

Avenatti, the lawyer representing Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump and his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, took to Twitter in the overnight hours to lash out against the arrest of his client, which he said is “politically motivated” and “reeks of desperation.” Avenatti, in a series of tweets said the charges against Daniels are “bogus” and he vowed to fight them.

Avenatti said she was arrested for “allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a non sexual manner” He continued, “Are you kidding me? They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this? There has to be higher priorities!!!” According to The Columbus Dispatch, the Frankling County Sheriff’s office has no record of the law, which was introduced in 2007, ever being cited.

Daniels, who has been on a “Make America Horny Again” tour of strip clubs throughout the U.S. was forced to cancel her upcoming show in Columbus. Earlier in the day, she issued a statement through Avenatti apologizing to her fans.

Columbus is part of Franklin County in Ohio, which overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, according to The New York Times. But Franklin sits smack in the middle of a sea of red on the 2016 Ohio electoral map, one of just a few counties that went blue in Ohio, making it a veritable island in the middle of Trump country.

Daniels is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday, July 13.

Read the full story at WCMH.

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07.12.18

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