Tom Hanks Calls Out Driver With Many Parking Tickets On Twitter

Tom Hanks has embraced his new real-life role of parking-ticket narc.

The ?Forrest Gump? actor on Saturday ratted out an apparent scofflaw in New York City by tweeting a picture of a car with several tickets crammed onto the windshield. Hollywood script writers should take note of his to-the-point message. 

Now Manhattan is not an uninhabited island like Hanks washed ashore on in ?Cast Away,? so word traveled fast. NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald responded. 

Cops located the car on the Upper East Side?s East 79th Street and Park Avenue, and discovered that the tickets had been paid.

 ?We checked the license plate and there are no outstanding summonses,? a police source told the New York Daily News. ?He probably pays them online but leaves them on his windshield.?

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Newt Gingrich Fans Conspiracy Theory Over DNC Staffer Killed Last Year

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, is adding fuel to the reinvigorated conspiracy theory that the Democratic National Committee staffer that was slain last year ? not Russia ? was behind a transfer of DNC emails to WikiLeaks. 

During a Sunday morning appearance on Fox News, Gingrich tried to deflect attention from the scrutiny over the Trump campaign?s alleged ties to Russia by pointing to the still-unsolved death of Seth Rich. The 25-year-old DNC staffer was killed last July while walking home from a bar late at night in what police have characterized as a robbery gone wrong. 

?We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic Committee, who apparently was assassinated at four in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments,? Gingrich said. 

The Fox and Friends hosts failed to refute any of Gingrich?s claims, and neither they nor Gingrich noted that the claims have recently unraveled when the story?s main source backtracked on his statements, calling them a ?misunderstanding.?  

The conspiracy over Rich?s death was revived last week when both Fox News and its affiliate Fox 5 DC ran stories that leaned on anonymous law enforcement sources claiming there was ?information? that could link Rich to WikiLeaks.  

At the center of the controversy was Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, a former D.C. homicide detective who was hired by a GOP donor to serve as a private investigator into the staffer?s death for the Rich family. He made the claim to Fox 5 DC that he had a local police contact who said officers were told to ?stand down? in the investigation, implying a cover-up. Wheeler later reversed course, saying this statements to the network were a ?miscommunication? to CNN, forcing Fox 5 DC to update its story

A spokesman for the Rich family told Fox 5 DC, ?The family has relayed their deep disappointment with Rod Wheeler?s conduct over the last 48 hours, and is exploring legal avenues to the family.?

On Friday, the family sent Wheeler a cease and desist letter ordering him to stop commenting publicly on the investigation. 

?Your statements and actions have caused, and continue to cause, the Family severe mental anguish and emotional distress,? the family wrote.

Despite the pushback from the family, Gingrich on Sunday went on to lament that ?nobody?s investigating? Rich?s death and suggested it?s a cover-up.

?What does that tell you about what?s going on? Because it turns out, it wasn?t the Russians,? he said. ?It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee.? 

The conspiracy went mainstream last year when WikiLeaks announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Rich?s killer. 

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Roger Ailes’ Son Says He’s ‘Coming After’ Those Who ‘Betrayed’ His Late Father

During the Saturday funeral service for Fox News? founder and former CEO Roger Ailes, his son reportedly made a point to threaten the people who had ?betrayed? his father.

?I want all the people who betrayed my father to know that I?m coming after them, and hell is coming with me,? Zachary Ailes, 17, said during a speech at the service, according to Lifezette.

Lifezette characterized the comments as relating to the ten women who have publicly accused Ailes of sexual harassment, including former Fox News hosts Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly and Andrea Tantaros.

Carlson filed a lawsuit in July 2016, detailing years of sexual harassment and discrimination. Since then, nine other women have come forward publicly with similar stories.

Ailes has denied all accusations, but he resigned from his position at Fox 15 days after Carlson filed her suit. He was rumored to have received a $40 million exit package from Fox – twice as much as the $20 million settlement that Carlson received.

Ailes died Thursday at the age of 77, after experiencing complications from a blood clot. Former Fox News Host Bill O?Reilly later said that the real cause of Ailes? death was how much people hated him.

However, that?s not what his son Zachary made it sound like at the funeral. He told Lifezette that his father ?considered how much certain people hated him a measure of success.?

H/T Gabriel Sherman

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‘Complicit Ivanka’ Johansson Joins Alec Baldwin For Final ‘SNL’ Hallelujah

The entire ?White House? crew of ?Saturday Night Live? gathered, one by one, around Alec Baldwin?s Donald Trump at the piano for a soulful rendition of a last ?Hallelujah? on the finale of one of the most memorable and politically charged seasons of the 42-year series.

At the lyric ?I told the truth, I didn?t come to fool ya,? Baldwin took his hands from the piano keys but the piano continued to play. Kate McKinnon?s Kellyanne Conway held up crossed fingers.

The cold-open ?Hallejulah? was part of an episode that wrapped up a season of skewering the White House. It could have been a farewell to the besieged Trump administration ? or it may have marked Baldwin?s last turn at playing the president.

Gathered around the piano were the Grim Reaper playing Steve Bannon, and Mikey Day and Alex Moffatt?s dopey Trump brothers. Cecily Strong turned up as first lady Melania Trump and Scarlett Johansson was back as daughter Ivanka in a gold lame gown from her March skit plugging her perfume Complicit (?a fragrance for the woman who could stop all this ? but won?t?).

Beck Bennett was Vice President Mike Pence ? instead of his usual Vladimir Putin ? and Aidy Bryant stood in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (Putin was represented by the Russian flag pin on Baldwin?s lapel.)

The song came full circle from the ?SNL? episode following the presidential election when McKinnon sadly sat at the same piano to sing the song to honor the late Leonard Cohen ? and lament the electoral loss of Hillary Clinton. ?I?m not giving up, and neither should you,? McKinnon told her audience then.

This time Baldwin wrapped up his ?Hallelujah? and declared: ?I?m not giving up because I didn?t do anything wrong… but I can?t speak for these people.?

The episode was bittersweet, as it remains unclear if Baldwin plans to return as Trump after this season. He has said the role was getting depressing because of the ?maliciousness? of the administration, and worried that people won?t be amused much longer by the president. ?If everything stays the same in the country… I don?t think people will be in the mood to laugh about it,? he said in March.

But he has since left the door slightly ajar to the possibility of returning. ?Look, I?d love to keep doing this per my availability, but I have other things I?m going to do, so I guess we?ll figure it out,? Baldwin told The Hollywood Reporter last week.

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10 Ways Smart People Stay Calm

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we?ve found that 90 percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

If you follow my work, you?ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one?s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it?s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it?s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn?t prolonged, it?s harmless.

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain?s ability to develop new cells.

?I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,? Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we?ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.

Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what?s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

While I?ve run across numerous effective strategies that smart people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

1. They Appreciate What They Have

Taking time to contemplate what you?re grateful for isn?t merely the ?right? thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It?s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

2. They Avoid Asking ?What If??

?What if?? statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you?ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking ?what if? will only take them to a place they don?t want?or need?to go.

3. They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain?s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you?re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.

4. They Disconnect

Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it?s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even?gulp!?turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You?ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you?re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you?re unlikely to be contacted?maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.

5. They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the ?fight-or-flight? response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you?re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.

6. They Sleep

I?ve beaten this one to death over the years and can?t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don?t get enough?or the right kind?of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night?s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

7. They Squash Negative Self-Talk

A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that?thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

You can bet that your statements aren?t true any time you use words like ?never,? ?worst,? ?ever,? etc. If your statements still look like facts once they?re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain?s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

8. They Reframe Their Perspective

Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It?s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we?re so stressed all the time. You can?t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren?t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you?re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as ?Everything is going wrong? or ?Nothing will work out,? then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things?not everything?and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.

9. They Breathe

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you?re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it?s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It?s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don?t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.

This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you?ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.

10. They Use Their Support System

It?s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can?t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon. 

Bringing It All Together

Overwhelming anxiety and empowerment are mutually exclusive. Any time you are overcome with enough stress/anxiety to limit your performance, just follow the steps above to empower yourself and regain control.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Want to learn more from me? Check out my book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

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Iranians Demanding Change Deliver Emphatic Victory For Rouhani

DUBAI/BEIRUT, May 20 (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani pledged on Saturday to open Iran to the world and deliver freedoms its people have yearned for, throwing down a defiant challenge to his hardline opponents after securing a decisive re-election for a second term.

Rouhani, long known as a cautious and mild-mannered establishment insider, reinvented himself as a bold champion of reform during the election campaign, which culminated on Friday in victory with more than 57 percent of the vote. His main challenger, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi, received 38 percent.

In his first televised speech after the result, Rouhani appeared to openly defy conservative judges by praising the spiritual leader of the reform camp, former President Mohammad Khatami. A court has banned quoting or naming Khatami on air.

?Our nation?s message in the election was clear: Iran?s nation chose the path of interaction with the world, away from violence and extremism,? Rouhani said. He promised to serve as president for all Iranians, not just those who voted for him.

Although the powers of the elected president are limited by those of unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who outranks him, the scale of Rouhani?s victory gives the pro-reform camp its strongest mandate in at least 12 years to seek the sort of change that hardliners have thwarted for decades.

Rouhani?s opponent Raisi, a protege of Khamenei, had united the conservative faction and had been tipped as a potential successor to the 77-year-old supreme leader. His defeat leaves the conservatives without an obvious flag bearer.

The re-election is likely to safeguard the nuclear agreement Rouhani?s government reached with global powers in 2015, under which most international sanctions have been lifted in return for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

And it delivers a setback to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the powerful security force which controls a vast industrial empire in Iran. They had thrown their support behind Raisi to safeguard their interests.

?We won. We did what we should do for our country. Now it is Rouhani?s turn to keep his promises,? said coffee shop owner Arash Geranmayeh, 29, reached by telephone in Tehran.

Rouhani, 68, faces the same limits on his power to transform Iran that prevented him from delivering social change in his first term, and that thwarted Khatami, who failed to deliver on a reform agenda as president from 1997-2005.

But by publicly thanking ?my dear brother, Mohammad Khatami? in his victory speech, Rouhani seemed to take up that mantle. It was a remarkable challenge to the Shi?ite Muslim religious judicial authorities, who have blacklisted Khatami from public life for his support for other reformists under house arrest.

Many experts are skeptical that a president can change much in Iran, as long as the supreme leader has veto power over all policies and control over the security forces. Some said the pattern was all too familiar from Rouhani?s first victory four years ago and Khatami?s victories the previous decade.

?The last two decades of presidential elections have been short days of euphoria followed by long years of disillusionment,? said Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment who focuses on Iran.

?Democracy in Iran is allowed to bloom only a few days every four years, while autocracy is evergreen.?

The re-elected president will also have to navigate a tricky relationship with Washington, which appears at best ambivalent about the nuclear accord agreed by former U.S. president Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has repeatedly described it as ?one of the worst deals ever signed,? although his administration re-authorized waivers from sanctions this week.

Trump arrived on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, his first stop on the first trip abroad of his presidency. The Saudis are Iran?s biggest enemies in the region and are expected to push hard for Trump to turn his back on the nuclear deal.


Rouhani?s reinvention as an ardent reformist on the campaign trail helped stir the passion of young, urban voters yearning for change. At times he broke rhetorical taboos, attacking the human rights record of the security forces and the judiciary.

During one rally he referred to hardliners as ?those who cut out tongues and sewed mouths shut.? In a debate last week he accused Raisi of seeking to ?abuse religion for power.? The language at the debate earned a rare public rebuke from Khamenei, who called it ?unworthy.?

The contentiousness of the campaign could make it more difficult for Rouhani to secure the consent of hardliners to carry out his agenda, said Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University.

?Rouhani upped the ante in the past ten days in the rhetoric that he used. Clearly it?s going to be difficult to back down on some of this stuff.?

The Guards could also use their role as shock troops of Iran?s interventions across the Middle East to try to derail future rapprochement with the West, said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born lecturer at Israel?s Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya.

?Since the 1979 revolution, whenever hardliners have lost a political battle, they have tried to settle scores,? he said.

?I would worry about the more confrontational policy of the IRGC in the Persian Gulf … and more confrontational policy with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.?

Among the congratulatory messages sent to Rouhani by world leaders, Iran?s battlefield ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looked forward to cooperating ?to strengthen the security and stability of both countries, the region and the world.?

The biggest prize for Rouhani?s supporters is the potential to set Iran?s course for decades by influencing the choice of a successor to Khamenei, who has been in power since 1989.

A Raisi victory would have probably ensured that the next supreme leader was a hardliner. Rouhani?s win gives reformists a chance to build clout in the body that chooses the leader, the Assembly of Experts, where neither reformists nor conservatives dominate.

Khamenei praised Iranians for their big turnout after voters queued up for hours to cast their ballots. The strong turnout of around 73 percent of eligible voters appeared to have favored Rouhani, whose backers? main concern had been apathy among reformists disappointed with the slow pace of change.

Many voters said they came out to block the rise of Raisi, one of four judges who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s, regarded by reformers as a symbol of the security state at its most fearsome.

?The wide mobilization of the hardline groups and the real prospect of Raisi winning scared many people into coming out to vote,? said Nasser, a 52-year-old journalist.

?We had a bet among friends, and I said Raisi would win and I think that encouraged a few of my friends who might not have voted to come out and vote.?


(Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; writing by Peter Graff; editing by Andrew Roche)


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Prince George And Princess Charlotte Steal The Show At Pippa Middleton’s Wedding

In a twist that should shock no one, all eyes were on Prince George and Princess Charlotte at their aunt Pippa Middleton?s wedding Saturday.

Prince William?s sister-in-law looked absolutely stunning in a a high neck, lace Giles Deacon gown with a long train and bespoke veil, but his tiny children gave her a run for her money doing their duties as page boy and bridesmaid.

Charlotte looked adorable in a white short-sleeved dress with a big pink bow and floral head piece. George, who is getting bigger every day, looked oh-so-dapper in a white collared shirt and short trousers.

The former Kate Middleton, who looked beautiful in a long-sleeved, pale pink dress with a matching fascinator, reportedly expressed some concern on Tuesday over how her little ones would behave during the nuptials. From the looks of it, though, all they did was manage to look even cuter than usual.

Perhaps they?ll be reprising these roles for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?s wedding next? We can only dream. 

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This Is How Much Your Favorite HGTV Stars Are Reportedly Worth

Over the past few years, people have become more obsessed with HGTV and the network?s major stars. 

E! News recently looked at the most popular stars on the channel and tried to figure out who was the most sought-out of the group. Their infographic broke down the celebrities? popularity by their HGTV spinoffs, social media following, estimated net worth (using known salaries and sponsorships, as well as a variety of other incomes or financial involvements), number of years in the business, book deals and more.

In descending order, here are the shows and their stars who have made the most, in terms of reported net worth: 

#5: ?Flip or Flop? 

Tarek and Christina El Moussa have earned an estimated $4 million. 

Tied for #3: ?Fixer Upper? 

Chip and Joanna Gaines are worth an estimated $5 million, but that will probably increase exponentially with all the deals and real estate offerings they have in the works. 

Tied for #3: ?Rehab Addict? 

Nicole Curtis is tied with the Gaines at a reported $5 million. 

2. ?Love It Or List It? 

David Visentin and Hilary Farr have brought in an estimated $7 million. 

Just strolling along in our #shades with @hilary_farr #loveitorlistit #raybans

A post shared by David Visentin (@davidvisentin1) on

1. ?The Property Brothers?

Drew and Jonathan Scott are worth an estimated $5-10 million, according to E!. 

As the infographic points out, ?House Hunters? is one of the most popular TV shows on the channel with over 1,700 total episodes. But because it doesn?t have a star or two, it?s a bit hard to estimate the show?s worth to the network. 

HuffPost reached out to HGTV for comment, but the network could not provide specific information about the stars? net worth. 

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The Outrageous Looks At Cannes Will Make You Do A Double Take

While the current trend at Cannes is thigh-high slits and lots of cleavage, some people are instead showcasing their unusual (and in some cases, ill-advised) sense of style on the film festival?s red carpet. 

Actress Victoria Abril?s outfit offended many on the red carpet with her confusing ensemble and cornrows. Others make an appearance on this list for just being straight-up visually … interesting. There are crazy capes, oversize T-shirts that hit the ground and bizarre silhouettes. 

Take a look at the list below and celebrate the weirdness with us: 

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Michael Flynn Refuses To Cooperate With Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON ? Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is so far refusing to cooperate with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has issued a subpoena for documents related to his interactions with Russian officials.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters Thursday that Flynn?s lawyers have yet to turn over any documents, although there ?may be a day or two left? for them to do so. 

?Michael Flynn has not cooperated with the committee up to this point,? Burr said, adding, however, that he has not received a ?definitive answer? on whether he and his lawyers will comply. 

Flynn resigned in February, after it was revealed that he lied about whether he had substantive contacts with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump took office. 

Burr declined to say whether he will hold a contempt of Congress vote regarding Flynn, stating, ?I?m not going to go into what we might or might not do. We?ve got a full basket of things we might want to test.?

Flynn?s lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.

Trump kept Flynn in the administration long after the White House had been alerted to his ethics issues. Before Trump?s inauguration, Flynn had told the transition team that he was under federal investigation for secretly lobbying for the Turkish government during the campaign, according to The New York Times. Even with this information, Trump named him national security adviser. 

Trump continued to keep Flynn on the job after Sally Yates, the acting attorney general, warned the White House that he could be subject to blackmail by the Russians for hiding his contacts with the ambassador. 

The president is now under fire for reports that he urged FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into Flynn during an Oval Office meeting in February. Trump fired Comey last week and admitted that the bureau?s Russia probe was on his mind when he did so.

The House Intelligence Committee also announced Thursday that it has requested documents from the Justice Department and the FBI related to Comey?s dismissal and any conversations between Trump and the former FBI director. 

On Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the special counsel in charge of investigating Russia?s role in the 2016 election.

According to a Congressional Research Service report, Congress has three methods by which it can deal with Flynn?s non-compliance: It can (1) detain and imprison him until he complies, (2) refer him to the executive branch (in this case, the Department of Justice) for criminal prosecution or (3) seek a civil judgement from a federal court that would compel Flynn to comply.

Sam Stein contributed reporting.

This is a breaking news entry and will continue to be updated.

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In 60 Seconds, A ‘Daily Show’ Guest Brilliantly Exposed The Danger Of ‘Post-Truth’

Trevor Noah had historian Timothy Snyder on to ?The Daily Show? this week to discuss his book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

Snyder is a Yale professor who specializes in Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. He has spent a lifetime trying to understand how fascism and authoritarianism transform from an idea into a reality. He has written book after book breaking down the patterns and signs to look for. 

So when Snyder had the stage on ?The Daily Show? this week, he capitalized on it by succinctly explaining to the public the steps through which authoritarianism, or fascism, or whatever you want to call it, can become a reality anywhere, even in the U.S.

In just 60 seconds, Snyder broke down the process by which authoritarian figures convince you to stop trusting your eyes and start trusting the myth. In today?s society, we often refer to this as a working within a ?post-truth.? It?s a new word for an old thing, something we often convince ourselves couldn?t happen here. Snyder argued that is not true. 

Here is his comment in its entirety: 

Fascism says nothing?s true. Your daily life is not important. The facts that you think you understand are not important. All that matters is the myth ? the myth of one nation as together the myth-ful connection with the leader.

When we think of ?Post-truth,? we think its something new. We think its something at campuses. We think its something irrelevant. Actually, what post-truth does is it paves the way for regime change. If we don?t have access to facts, we can?t trust each other. Without trust, there?s no law. Without law, there?s no democracy. 

So if you want to rip the heart out of democracy directly, if you want to go right at it and kill it, what you do is you go after facts. And that is what modern authoritarians do.

Step one: You lie to yourself, all the time. Step two: You say it?s your opponents and the journalists who lie. Step three: Everyone looks around and says, ?What is truth?? There is no truth.

And then, resistance is impossible, and the game is over. 

At the end, Noah could only say one word: ?Wow.?

You can watch the full episode below. 

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Trump Too Lazy And ‘Indifferent’ To Hurt Allies By Sharing Intel, White House Officials Tell NYT

WASHINGTON ? White House officials offered a candid and unflattering defense of their boss on Tuesday, telling The New York Times effectively that President Donald Trump is too inept to have hurt U.S. allies through his sharing of sensitive intelligence with Russian officials during a meeting last week.

Trump has come under heavy criticism in the wake of Monday?s Washington Post report  revealing that he ?went off script? and offered up ?highly classified information? to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. There?s general agreement that Trump didn?t break the law by doing this, but experts have raised concerns that the disclosure may have compromised the U.S. partner that gathered the intelligence ? Israel, according to reports Tuesday.

But Trump would only be capable of inflicting this sort of damage if he were aware of specific details regarding the sources and methods used to compile the intelligence, reportedly pertaining to a plot by the so-called Islamic State to detonate laptop bombs on commercial airliners. And unnamed White House sources told the Times that Trump didn?t know these finer points, because he?s too lazy to glean them from the ?great? intelligence reports he gets every day.

Here?s the relevant bit from the Times:

In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling ? and honest ? defense of the president: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of printed briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would do harm to United States allies.

That assessment doesn?t exactly inspire confidence in Trump, and it?s unclear if it?s even accurate. Indifferent or not, Trump may have disclosed the Iraqi city at the heart of the reported ISIS plot ? a carefully guarded detail that administration officials previously suggested could ?get people killed.?

The bluntness of the anonymous White House officials? defense of Trump is in line with reports portraying an administration on the brink of upheaval, with its near-constant state of crisis fueling intense bickering inside Trump?s inner circle.

Some officials now apparently view leaks to the press ? such as the one that led to Monday?s Post report ? as the best way to check Trump?s unconventional and often undisciplined style of leadership.

On Tuesday, conservative columnist Erick Erickson rose to the defense of one of the supposed leakers behind the Post story, arguing that sources are going to the media in hopes of producing an ?intense blowback? that will force Trump to recognize his errors.

?You can call these sources disloyal, traitors, or whatever you want,? wrote Erickson. ?But please ask yourself a question ? if the President, through inexperience and ignorance, is jeopardizing our national security and will not take advice or corrective action, what other means are available to get the President to listen and recognize the error of his ways??

Trump and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have maintained that there was nothing inappropriate about the conversations with Russian officials. On Tuesday, McMaster said the president ?wasn?t even aware of where this information came from? and ?wasn?t briefed? on its source. Both Trump and McMaster have instead turned their focus on those responsible for the leaks, suggesting they pose a threat to national security.

But U.S. allies have already taken notice of Trump?s careless handling of intelligence, as well as the chaos it has produced. On Tuesday, a European official told The Associated Press that his country might halt intelligence-sharing efforts with the U.S. 

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You Can Now Watch Will Ferrell Make Fun Of Donald Trump As George W. Bush

You may have thought the only entertaining battle to follow between former President George W. Bush and current President Donald Trump would be who would have the lower approval ratings in future (God-willing) history books. (Trump?s current approval rating, according to Gallup, is 38 percent ? three points above his lowest score ? while Bush?s low-point was 25 percent. But Trump still has time. So, so, so much time.)

In any case, Will Ferrell recently reprised his satirical role as George W. Bush for the ?Not the White House Correspondents? Dinner? last month, giving the country an approximation of what a war of words between the two Republican presidents would look like.

Getty already published photos of Ferrell?s impersonation, and a few video segments have surfaced, but now the event organizer, ?Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,? has released the entire skit.

Watch the almost 12-minute video above to see Ferrell?s cigarette-smoking Bush, who utters lines like, ?History has proven to be kinder to me than many of you thought.?

I needed eight years, a catastrophic flood, a war built on a lie, an economic disaster — the new guy needed 100 days.
Will Ferrell as George W. Bush

Ferrell spends much of the speech going after Trump, at one point unveiling Bush?s latest portrait ? a two-toned Trump.

?As you can see,? said Ferrell as Bush, ?I?ve exhausted my palette of yellow and oranges.?

Luckily, for this Bush, he still has so much time to finish the portrait. (So, so, so, so, so, so much time.)

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