Day: September 7, 2017

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Clarkson: ‘Voice’ vs. ‘Idol’


Kelly Clarkson is having a big week by not only dropping singles from her latest album, but explaining her next move in the world of reality singing competitions. Namely, she’s explaining why she opted for NBC’s “The Voice” instead of the rebooted version of the show that made her famous.

In May, it was announced that ABC was bringing back the hit Fox reality singing competition, “American Idol.” The series enjoyed an impressive run on Fox for 15 seasons. Starting in 2002, Clarkson ended up just edging out runner-up Justin Guarini to be the first winner, launching her into a career of stardom.

However, not only will Clarkson not join stars like Katy Perry in the “Idol” revival, but she’s joining the show’s direct competition, NBC’s “The Voice.” Speaking in an interview, the 35-year-old singer explained why she opted to be a coach on “The Voice” rather than a judge on “Idol.”

It turns out that Clarkson was already well-acquainted with “The Voice” thanks to her husband, Brandon Blackstock, who manages long-time coach Blake Shelton. She and her family often found themselves on the set of the NBC competition and had been talking about being a coach for years, but her pregnancies prohibited her from committing until now.

“We’re used to ‘The Voice’ schedule, we already have to work around it because of our family,” Clarkson told Entertainment Weekly. “We have four children — that can be very taxing with a schedule. It was just a no-brainer for me with ‘The Voice’ because of that alone. But my thing is, I was kind of bummed too when [‘Idol’] came to me. I hope it’s super successful.”

However, there’s much more to it than convenience. The star shared apprehension about reviving “Idol” too soon as well as her real intentions with joining a panel on a singing competition in general.

“Would it have been awesome to come back to the show that started me and help give someone that start? Yes!” Clarkson says. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t do the same thing on ‘The Voice.’ That’s my goal. I want to have someone on my team, whether they win or not, to have a successful career after being on the show.”

At the moment, Clarkson’s star is on the rise thanks to the announcement that she’s releasing a new album, “Meaning Of Life.” She dropped the cover for it on Thursday along with information about pre ordering and getting free downloads of singles “Love So Soft,” and “Move You.”



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'Duck' star unrecognizable


“Duck Dynasty” star Jase Robertson is completely unrecognizable after he shaved off his signature beard.

It was a bold move for the 48-year-old star was famously said in his reality show, “There are two kinds of people without beards, children and women, I am neither.”

The Robertson brother agreed to shave his facial hair if he was able to raise $100,000 for his daughter Mia’s charity.

Mia Robertson, started a charity called Mia Moo Fund, which benefits children with cleft lips and cleft palates.

No one was more thrilled to be rid of Robertson’s beard than his wife Missy who had not seen her husband sans facial hair in seven years.



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Mom upset over fat teacher


Hilary Freeman, a London-based mom, has decided against enrolling her daughter in a certain nursery school because the assistant was obese.

“The nursery assistant was clearly a lovely woman: kind and great with children. But as I watched her play with my two-year-old daughter, I felt a growing sense of unease,” Freeman penned in an essay explaining her position.

PREGNANT WOMAN CLAIMS SHE WAS DENIED SERVICE BECAUSE OF BABY BUMP

“[The assistant] was only in her 20s, but she was already obese—morbidly so. She moved slowly and breathlessly, her face flushed,” Freeman continued.

But Freeman claims her choice to enroll her daughter in a school with more physically fit teachers isn’t “fatism” or based on looks – it’s about safety.

“Would she, I wondered, have the lightning reflexes needed to save an adventurous toddler from imminent danger? And what sort of unhealthy habits would she teach my daughter, who would be eating her lunch and tea there each day?” Freeman asked.

The mom also noticed that the assistant wasn’t the only one at the school who was “extremely overweight.”

Freeman decided her worries “about the message [the staff] was sending to the children in their care: that being very fat is normal and – when children adopt role models so readily – even desirable” were enough of a concern to place her daughter in another nursery.

Since Freeman’s personal essay, people have accused her of “fat-shaming.” She notes that she has been attacked relentlessly on message boards about her opinions, as far as being called “anti-feminist” for suggesting that obesity is not a healthy way of life.

However, her lack of sympathy for larger people is steeped in her own insecurities, she writes.

“Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because I’m a slim person with a far person inside, wanting to burst out.”

Freeman is a size 10 now, she said, but was once a size 14 because of a hormonal issue – she suffers with an underactive thyroid that makes it hard to lose weight and can cause severe weight gain. Her grandmother was also morbidly obese – a lifestyle Freeman does not want to hand down to her own daughter.

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“Research has proven that, in many ways, being obese is as unhealthy as smoking. It causes cancer, heart disease and diabetes and can impede fertility. Studies also disprove the notion one can be fat and fit. The heavier you are, the more likely you are to suffer from heart failure or stroke,” she says.

Regardless of dissenting opinions on the mom’s choice of nursery, Freeman is sticking to her guns about the “rising obesity problem,” and ended her essay with a pointed call-to-action.

“Discrimination is never good,” she says. “But neither is obesity. So let’s stop celebrating it, and instead offer a bit of tough love.”



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Steve Bannon says he disagrees with Trump's decision on DACA – Bannon: Gary Cohn 'absolutely' should have resigned after criticizing Trump – 'Dreamers' in military left in limbo by Trump decision to wind down DACA


Former senior White House adviser Steve Bannon says he is opposed to President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and ask Congress to come up with a solution.

“Look, what he did on DACA the other day. Okay, I don’t agree with that DACA decision, but I understand how he struggled with it, I understand how he’s giving the possibility of a legislative thing,” Bannon told Charlie Rose of CBS News in an interview that aired Thursday.

DACA, implemented under former President Barack Obama, gives illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age a reprieve from deportation. Trump is now saying he is giving Congress six months to take up the issue.

Liberals have expressed worries that the decision could lead to deportation of young illegal immigrants. But some immigration hawks, like Iowa Rep. Steve King, have expressed concern it will lead to Congress passing “amnesty.”

“Trust me, the guys in the far right, the guys on the conservative side are not happy with this,” said Bannon, who advocates for tough restrictions on illegal immigration.

The former counselor to Trump left his White House job in August and returned to lead the populist-conservative website Breitbart News.

Bannon, a Catholic, also criticized the Catholic Church for its public statements on illegal immigration. “The Catholic Church has been terrible about this,” he said.

Bannon said he respects “the bishops on doctrine” but “this is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation.”

“And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion,” he said.

Reacting to his media image, Bannon referred to himself as a “street fighter,” saying “that’s why Donald Trump and I get along so well.”

He also took aim at former rival White House staffers, including Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, who expressed displeasure with Trump’s reaction to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville several weeks ago.

“If you’re going to break with him, resign. The stuff that was leaked out that week by certain members of the White House I thought was unacceptable,” Bannon said. “If you find it unacceptable, you should resign.”

After Bannon specifically named Cohn, Rose asked Bannon if he thinks Cohn should have resigned.

“Absolutely,” he said.
 



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Mueller wants to speak with White House staffers about Trump Jr. controversy – Trump Jr. says he wanted to know about Clinton's 'fitness' for office in Russian lawyer meeting


The special counsel leading the investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 election wants to speak with White House staffers about Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial meeting during the campaign with a Russian lawyer, Fox News has learned.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested to speak with aides involved in the president’s eldest son’s initial response to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised damaging information on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Mueller has not requested to speak with the president himself, Fox News is told.

Democrats have pointed to the Trump Tower meeting to argue collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. The Trump campaign has denied the accusations.

That Mueller would ask to speak to the individuals is “not a surprise,” according to a source. It is also not viewed as “an aggressive action” on Mueller’s part.

It wasn’t immediately clear with which specific aides Mueller wants to speak.

Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya was revealed in July.

TRUMP JR. SAYS HE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CLINTON’S ‘FITNESS’ FOR OFFICE IN RUSSIAN LAWYER MEETING

Sources told Fox News that a preliminary initial statement had been drafted by Trump Jr. and was discussed aboard Air Force One as the president was returning home from Germany. At that time, the sources said, Trump believed that the meeting was about Russian adoptions and had weighed in on the statement on that basis.

Earlier Thursday, Trump Jr. appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and told congressional investigators that he agreed to last year’s controversial meeting with a Russian attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton because he was interested in any information on the Democratic candidate’s “fitness, character or qualifications.”

In a prepared opening statement, the president’s son again denied any Russia collusion claims and sought to explain the nature of contacts he has had over the years with Russian individuals.

“I did not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did,” he said.

Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.
 



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Teacher indicted for sending naked tanning bed pics to boy student


A special education teacher was indicted by a Dallas grand jury Wednesday after she was arrested in March for having an inappropriate relationship with an eighth-grade student.

Rebecca Goerdel, 29, a former educator at the Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Kennedy Middle School in Grand Prairie, Texas, was arrested in March for soliciting a male student, WFAA reported.

It was not immediately clear if the boy was one of Goerdel’s students.

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Goerdel made contact with the student in January, sending naked photos of herself lying in a tanning bed, according to the arrest warrant. The teacher reportedly asked the student to draw her naked.

The warrant stated that Goerdel and the student “never had sex” but the educator allegedly “sat on the student’s lap in her car and they made out.”

The Grand Prairie Independent School District said it was informed of the improper relationship between Goerdel and the student on March 10, the Star Telegram reported. The district contacted police, who launched an investigation that eventually led to the educator’s arrest.

Police reportedly found sexually explicit text messages between the educator and the student from “third party apps that have since been deleted,” according to the warrant. An officer sent a text message to Goerdel from the victim’s phone and she reportedly wrote back asking him to come to her home and spend the night together.

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The district relieved Goerdel of her teaching duties on March 24.

On Wednesday, the district released a statement saying: “We are pleased that law enforcement has doggedly pursued this matter and that Goerdel is being held responsible for her conduct. The safety of our students is among the highest priorities of the Grand Prairie Independent School District and that starts in the classroom. We believe the teacher-student relationship is sacred. It reflects a vow from teachers to parents that their children are safe — as safe as they would be at home. When a teacher in Grand Prairie ISD breaks that vow, he or she will be dealt with quickly and aggressively.”



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High school reverses flag ban after student protest



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A Minnesota high school has reversed its controversial flag ban after a protest.

Approximately 30 students and parents gathered at the Rocori High School parking lot Wednesday afternoon, proudly flying American flags on their cars and trucks.

The school, which is located in Cold Spring, Minnesota, put the ban on all flags in place last spring to prevent students from displaying the Confederate flag.

The new guideline in the student handbook said: “Students are not allowed to display flags or banners from their vehicle while parked in the Rocori High School parking lot.”

After the demonstration, the school agreed to allow American flags, but it won’t allow other flags that might cause other students to feel “threatened, uncomfortable or unsafe.”


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“Students and school leaders fully agreed that celebration of our nation is desired but disrespect is not acceptable or desired,” a statement on the Rocori School District Facebook page read.

Superintendent Scott Staska said the protest was very respectful, well-organized and positive.

“If you could have a protest, you would want one like what the students did today,” Staska said.

Watch the “Fox & Friends First” report above.


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ERICK ERICKSON: Debt ceiling disaster — Trump just did us all a favor… – Trump's debt deal with Dems stuns GOP, as Congress moves toward vote – Tonight: Martha interviews Paul Ryan on Trump's debt deal with Dems


Editor’s note: The following column originally appeared in The Resurgent.

Let’s be honest here. The Republicans in Congress were always going to find some deal with the Democrats. They were always going to find a way to surrender ultimately. What president Trump did was just short circuit the process and shorten the length of time we will suffer through failure theater where the Republicans in Congress and the Wall Street Journal editorial page try to convince us a turd sandwich is tasty.

The president did us all a favor.

But there is a problem. By giving the Democrats a three month extension, the president has essentially compressed the legislative calendar. The GOP will now have to do tax reform, immigration, spending, and debt ceiling all at one time. This exponentially increases the odds of a terrible deal.

With the president siding with Pelosi and Schumer so publicly, he has given the GOP every reason to publicly claim the president must want to work with the Democrats. And work with the Democrats they will — to undermine the president.

Using the newly compressed legislative calendar as an excuse, they will undoubtedly cut several bad deals with Democrats and lump them all together in a couple of pieces of legislation. Remember, there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party. Occasionally they get together and do something that is both stupid and evil and the press heralds it as a bipartisan accomplishment.

We are on the road to stupid and evil more expeditiously because of what President Trump just did. Let’s be honest here. The Republicans in Congress were always going to find some deal with the Democrats. They were always going to find a way to surrender ultimately. What President Trump did was just short circuit the process and shorten the length of time we will suffer through failure theater where the Republicans in Congress and the Wall Street Journal editorial page try to convince us a sour sandwich is tasty.

The president did us all a favor.

But there is a problem. By giving the Democrats a three month extension, the President has essentially compressed the legislative calendar. The GOP will now have to do tax reform, immigration, spending, and debt ceiling all at one time. This exponentially increases the odds of a terrible deal.

With the president siding with Pelosi and Schumer so publicly, he has given the GOP every reason to publicly claim the president must want to work with the Democrats. And work with the Democrats they will — to undermine the president.

Using the newly compressed legislative calendar as an excuse, they will undoubtedly cut several bad deals with Democrats and lump them all together in a couple of pieces of legislation. Remember, there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party. Occasionally they get together and do something that is both stupid and evil and the press heralds it as a bipartisan accomplishment.

We are on the road to stupid and evil more expeditiously because of what President Trump just did.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor. He is host of “Atlanta’s Evening News” and founder/editor of The Resurgent. He is the founder of RedState.com. Follow him on Twitter @EWErickson.



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Marine veteran amputee reaches summit of Mount Kilimanjaro for a good cause


Waking up around midnight on Aug. 25, Marine Cpl. Kionte Storey began his final trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, the culmination of months of rigorous training that led him to the top of Africa’s highest peak.

With every step he took, the 29-year-old veteran climbed higher than he ever had before.

At 10:45 a.m. local time, Storey made it to the summit, 19,341 feet up – a feat made more outstanding by the fact he achieved it with a prosthetic leg.

The view, he said, was simply “amazing.”

“You look down and you are above the clouds,” he told Fox News on Tuesday. “I keep saying it was the closest thing to getting to heaven, and then the sun comes out and you can see everything.”

MARINE VETERAN AMPUTEE SEEKS NEXT CHALLENGE WITH TANZANIA’S MOUNT KILIMANJARO

The trip to Africa was part of a campaign by the Bob Woodruff and Steven & Alexandra Cohen foundations called #Give2Veterans.

‘I keep saying it was the closest thing to getting to heaven.’

– Cpl. Kionte Storey

For the journey, Storey was joined by Jake Rath, 25, of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, who documented the entire trip with a DSLR camera and 360-degree photo.

“The photos don’t do it justice,” he said, adding that seeing the night sky with only miles and miles of stars was breathtaking.

“To see the mountain in the starlight, thousands of stars, that was an amazing sight to see,” he added. “I was amazed by Africa.”

Storey, who joined the Marines in 2007, lost his right leg below the knee after stepping on an IED while deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Part of his physical and mental recovery after the injury included training at Paralympic camps and hiking.

In 2013, he became the first African-American and first amputee to reach the summit of Antarctica’s Mount Vinson.

“I didn’t know how my body was going to respond [in Africa],” Storey said. “My leg did well all the way up – it did a lot better than I expected.”

Both men said they had to pace themselves while on the climb, not trying to rush and give their bodies time to acclimate. Trekking through the different terrains – from jungle to savannas and finally glacier-covered stone peaks – made for a more interesting climb.

“We both trained a good amount – we were fit. The hardest was the mental challenge,” Rath said. “For each step you take, it’s the highest step you have taken.”

Through #Give2Veterans, the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is giving away up to $500,000 to help veterans. The foundation will give the Bob Woodruff Foundation $1 every time a social media post is shared using the hashtag. The campaign ends on Sept. 30.

MARINE VETERAN’S NEW MISSION: GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR MOST LONG-DISTANCE TRIATHLONS IN A YEAR

The California native said the final push to the top of Kilimanjaro was the make-or-break moment for them because it was the point in the journey when they started questioning everything.

“You start asking yourself ‘why’ – ‘why am I doing this when I could be doing better things?,’” he said. “And then I started to think about the whys and I remembered my friends serving overseas who aren’t alive. I started thinking about amputees and showing them through my experience that anything is possible.”

He added: “For us know that we were doing it for something bigger than ourselves, [we thought], ‘we are getting to the summit and that’s it.’ That’s how big our reason was for getting to the summit.”

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com.

Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang



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Did life exist on Mars?


Scientists have found key evidence which suggests life may once have existed on Mars.

Nasa’s Curiosity rover has detected boron, a key ingredient for life, on the dusty surface of the Red Planet.

The discovery is a huge boost in the hunt for extraterrestrials and could back up a theory suggesting life on Mars may have been forced underground when disaster turned the planet into a “frigid desert”.

Patrick Gasda, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory said: “Because borates may play an important role in making RNA – one of the building blocks of life – finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet.

“Borates are one possible bridge from simple organic molecules to RNA. Without RNA, you have no life.

“The presence of boron tells us that, if organics were present on Mars, these chemical reactions could have occurred.”

RNA is ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid present in all modern life which is involved in the decoding and expression of genes from DNA.

It is known to be unstable, so unless boron is present it decomposes quickly.

Gasda’s work is detailed in a study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

It describes how Nasa’s buggy found the element in calcium sulphate mineral “veins” in the rocky surface.

That means boron was present in Mars groundwater and indicates that the Gale crater, where Nasa’s robo buggy is right now, may have been home to life.

It bolsters the bizarre theory that life originated on Mars and was carried to Earth on an asteroid.

Astronomer Caleb Sharf has previously claimed: “We can find pieces of Mars here on Earth and we suspect that there are pieces of Earth on Mars.

“If that material can carry living organisms on it, it’s possible that we are Martian.”

These hypotheses have forced bonkers scenarios in which officials have asked Nasa experts whether life existed there in recent times.

Dana Rohrabacher, an American senator, publically asked a project scientist overseeing Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover mission if aliens ever lived on the Martian surface.

He quizzed: “You have indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago.

“Is it possible that there was a civilisation on Mars thousands of years ago?”

Nasa’s Ken Farley responded: “So, the evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago, and there is no evidence I’m aware of…”

However, there soon may be life on Mars if tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has his way.

The Space X founder has announced plans to put humans on the surface of the Red Planet by 2030.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.



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