Day: February 4, 2017

X-Men star James McAvoy donates £50,000 to teen suffering with rare cancer

We always knew Hollywood hearthrob James McAvoy was a nice guy, but it seems James McAvoy really does have a kind heart – after donating £50,000 to a girl with a rare cancer.

The X-Men star donated the money to Kelly Turner’s online fundraising page after visiting her at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton on Tuesday.

 

The actor posted on the page: ‘Great to meet you the other day Kelly.

‘I hope this helps you achieve your goal sooner rather than later. Good luck luv James.’

The news comes on World Cancer Day, on February 4, which aims to raise awareness and educate people about the disease.

Kelly Turner with Ricky Wilson. See National story NNKELLY; A dad endured freezing temperatures while sleeping rough on the streets to send a teenager to America for life-saving cancer treatment. John Ashman was hailed a "hero" by Kelly Turner and her dad Martin after raising £10,000 - doubling his target of £5,000 yesterday (Fri), the last night of his challenge. Kelly, 16, was diagnosed with a rare and aggresive desmoplastic small round cell tumour (DSRCT) and needs to raise £408,000 for surgery which will prolong her life by up to three years. Dad-of-four John, 50, endured seven days of temperatures well below freezing during one of the coldest weeks this year. Martin said: "John doesn't take to compliments well, but as far as we're concerned he's a hero.
Kelly has also met Kasier Chiefs front man, Ricky Wilson (Picture: JustGiving)

Kelly, 16, has a rare form of cancer and needed to raise £1 million for treatment in New York.

The teenager was diagnosed with desmoplastic round cell tumours in October 2015. At that time, she was given just two years to live.

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Scientists plan to march on Washington — but where will it get them?

A few months from now, thousands of scientists will leave their labs and take to the streets to rally on behalf of publicly funded, openly communicated, evidence-based research.

At least, that’s the vision of the organizers of the March for Science, which is slated to take place on April 22 — Earth Day.

Conceived in the wake of the successful Women’s March on Washington, and galvanized by recent news that President Trump’s administration was instructing government researchers not to communicate with the public, the plan includes a march in the District and dozens of satellite demonstrations. So far, marches are in the planning stages in more than 100 cities in at least 11 countries.

The event in Washington will culminate in a rally on the Mall featuring speakers and “teach-in” tents where scientists can share their research with the public. Organizers say that more than 40,000 people have signed up online to volunteer with the project.

It took less than two weeks for the march to balloon from a musing on Reddit into full-blown movement. A private Facebook group for participants has more than 800,000 members. Theoretical physicist Laurence Krauss said he plans to attend. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took to Facebook to voice his approval. A handful of scientific societies, including the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Sociological Association, have endorsed it.

But the effort has also sparked debates about what a “March for Science” should mean — and whether scientists should be marching in the first place.

Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said he can’t think of any precedent for this kind of mass activism. In the past, scientists have spoken out about political interference in research, and they’ve been involved in protesting nuclear weapons and environmental contamination, “but those weren’t so much about science as they were referring to scientific issues,” he explained.

“As I understand it, the marchers want this to be a gigantic endorsement of the idea of science, the idea of verifiable evidence,” Holt said. “That’s new.”

Organizers say that the policies of the new administration — prohibitions on communication by government scientists, the executive order barring travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries, talk of removing climate change pages from the website of the Environmental Protection Agency — demand action.

“We feel that the time has passed for scientists to, in good conscience, stay out of this fight,” said Caroline Weinberg, a public health researcher and science writer who is co-organizing the march. “There is no need to be partisan — politicians on both sides of the aisle are guilty of positions that fly in the face of scientific evidence — but it is not possible to ignore policy when it affects not just your jobs but the future of your field.”

Already, several of the new president’s policies have jolted the scientific community. The American Geophysical Union is now urging members to sign petitions condemning the travel ban and urging legislators not to remove scientific data from government websites. More than 171 scientific, engineering and academic organizations signed a letter urging the president to rescind his executive order, noting that it will bar many students and researchers from traveling to the United States to do their work. The leading scientific societies have reached out to the Trump administration offering their expertise on science issues, including government action on climate change, but they have been largely rebuffed.

Given the current climate, “I’m pleased to see people spontaneously speaking out in defense of the scientific process, in defense of using good evidence in policymaking,” Holt said. He added that he has reached out to march organizers to see how his organization can help, but AAAS hasn’t formally gotten involved.

Holt did note that the choice to hold the march on Earth Day — when environmentalist groups are likely to be organizing their own demonstrations — could be a fraught one. The issue of environmental protection is so politically charged, it could overpower the march’s overall message about protecting evidence-based policymaking and scientific integrity.

Christine McEntee, the executive director of AGU, said that her group is still figuring what, if any, role they might have in the march. “At a minimum, we’ll make sure our members are aware of the March for Science if they’d like to attend,” she said. “We support scientists exercising their rights as citizens to speak out.”

Still, some researchers are skeptical that a march is the right way to advocate for their work — and worry that marching could actively harm it. In an opinion piece for the New York Times, coastal ecologist Robert Young wrote that the march would be perceived as a protest of President Trump and “trivialize and politicize the science we care so much about.”

“Trying to recreate the pointedly political Women’s March will serve only to reinforce the narrative from skeptical conservatives that scientists are an interest group and politicize their data, research and findings for their own ends,” he cautioned.

Instead of marching, Young urged his colleagues to make contact with civic groups, churches and elected officials in an effort to explain how science works and why scientific findings should be trusted. “We need storytellers, not marchers,” he said.

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a theoretical physicist at the University of Washington, countered that science has always been influenced by politics. She noted that she is only the 63rd black woman in American history to get a PhD in physics — a degree that has been awarded to tens of thousands of researchers. That’s no accident, she said.

“The universe may be doing things without any regard for human politics,” she said. “It probably is. … But there’s always an agenda that is shaping who can do research, how we think about the research that we’re doing, and the research we think is important to do.”

Prescod-Weinstein cited the example of Albert Einstein, who, in addition to illuminating the fundamental laws of physics, advocated for civil rights, socialism, and nuclear arms control. His politics made him a target of the FBI, which tracked his phone calls and went through his trash until his death in 1955.

“Those are the same scientists we are taught to look up to as science students,” she said of Einstein and other physicists who advocated for arms control. “They very much understood that physics had a role to play in the unfolding of highly polarized political events.”

Indeed, Prescod-Weinstein and others say they believe that scientists haven’t been political enough. Along with astrophysicist Sarah Tuttle and cancer biologist Joseph Osmundson, she published a statement on the website the Establishment comparing the current situation to the climate in Germany in the early 1930s. “Professional standards and ambitions are not a substitute for morals, political or otherwise,” they wrote. “We cannot do business as usual anymore, regardless of how much we love our research or how important it feels.”

Much of the scientific community falls somewhere within these extremes. They are balancing anger about what they see as threats to their research, energy from the recent surge in activism, and worry about the perils of jumping into the political fray.

Mike Brown, the Caltech astronomer who famously “killed Pluto” with his discovery of dwarf planets in the outer solar system, said he still has misgivings. He’s not opposed to activism in general — Brown took his daughter to the Women’s March in Los Angeles in January and called it “one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.” But he’s not sure marching is the best way for scientists to advocate for their work.

“Having a bunch of scientists marching takes the interesting thing about scientists away from them,” he said. “These are educators and teachers and scientists [whose] super power is teaching you cool things about the universe around you.” Maybe instead of marching, researchers should take Young’s advice and conduct a teach-in instead, he mused.

“I don’t know,” he said. “The attacks on science are pretty unprecedented, and maybe all these softer ideas are just crazy.”

Weinberg is familiar with these arguments, and she agreed that science shouldn’t be influenced by politics. But, she said, scientists have an obligation to make sure that their work informs policy.

“That’s what research is for: to help us understand the world and to guide our decisions going forward,” she said. “It’s absurd to ignore the vast pool of knowledge centuries of scientific research have placed at our fingertips.”

Here’s Why NASA’s Space Shuttle Program Came To An End

NASA retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011. While remaining an object of fascination and an engineering wonder, the Shuttle required significant maintenance after each flight and did not truly deliver the next major leap forward. The interest in spaceflight too suffered the brunt of tough economic conditions.

So why did the U.S. space agency give up the Space Shuttle despite no alternative launch vehicle?

Not On NASA’s Hands

In a response made on Quora, NASA instructor and flight controller Robert Frost said that NASA does not have sole powers to decide on such matters.

“NASA is an agency of the government. Its direction comes from the government,” Frost said, as reported by Forbes.

Former president George W. Bush initiated the Space Shuttle’s cancellation back in 2004 as part of his Vision for Space Exploration, where its main purpose in the coming years was to “help finish assembly of the International Space Station.” He announced that the Space Shuttle will retire from service in 2010, after three decades of duty.

In that same speech, Bush broached the idea of a new Crew Exploration Vehicle to bring the United States back to the moon and eventually take it to planet Mars. In terms of budget, he said the new endeavors will be fueled by an $11 billion reallocation within NASA’s five-year budget of $86 billion at that time.

Effectively saying no new funds will be provided, Bush added that funding decisions in the future will be “guided by the progress we make in achieving our goals.”

DiscoverCrew Exploration VehicleSpaceflightSpace Launch SystemMars

Here’s the situation back then, as outlined by Frost: the Space Shuttle program remained pricey to operate, with the 20-year-old Orbiters getting more expensive to maintain. It would aid in completing the new space lab but would not assist in the new Constellation project that would take astronauts out of low Earth orbit.

Human Resources, Change Of White House Administrations

It’s not just the money, Frost continued. He added that there was “a very limited pool of people” that can provide expertise in operating spaceflight and an even smaller one for manned missions since others had already devoted work to the Space Shuttle and ISS missions. Jumpstarting the Constellation program, he explained, meant transferring manpower, and ISS surely couldn’t give up its people.

It was a sad decision to end the Space Shuttle, but Frost deemed it logical. Building another spacecraft for new missions meant harnessing new technology and entering foreign territory, adding to the fact that Congress did not fund work that would complete the CEV according to schedule.

With the entry of a new U.S. president and Congress, priorities changed again. The Space Shuttle bought time, CEV became Orion and got delayed, and Constellation was called off. The decision: tapping into commercial spaceflight and letting commercial firms pitch in bringing astronauts to and from the ISS.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program was brought to life to achieve “safe, reliable, and cost-effective access” to and from the ISS and low-Earth orbit, awarding contracts to the likes of SpaceX and Boeing for space taxi services. Both companies, however, discovered that human spaceflight could be more complicated than thought, and they proved to be not ready at the expected time, Frost said.

Since the Space Shuttle program came to a close, NASA has had to rely on purchasing a spot inside the Russian space agency’s Soyuz spacecraft, which launches from Kazakhstan. This capsule has flown American astronauts to the space lab and back on several occasions, including Scott Kelly’s historic return to Earth last March after spending 340 days aboard the ISS.

Prospects For SLS

After bidding goodbye to the Space Shuttle era, the attention is now on next-generation rocketship inspired by the Saturn V era, Eureka Magazine reported.

NASA’s Space Launch System is poised to be the most powerful rocket ever launched, hopefully bringing humanity closer to a return to the moon and stepping into Mars, but how long will it take for this to come to fruition?

“We will keep the teams working toward a more ambitious readiness date and will be ready no later than November 2018,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the human explorations and operations mission directorate at NASA.

For its maiden flight test, the SLS will be configured for a 70-ton lift capacity and carry the unmanned Orion crew module beyond low-Earth orbit, but in its most powerful configuration, the SLS will offer a lift capability of 130 tons and push missions farther into the solar system, including the moon, asteroids, and even the Red Planet.

How NASA, in a post-Space Shuttle era, will shoot for the moon and beyond in coming years remains to be seen.

– See more at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/195823/20170204/here-s-why-nasa-s-space-shuttle-program-came-to-an-end.htm#sthash.M7n4pXlJ.dpuf

Top 5 reasons Falcons will crush Patriots in Super Bowl 51

super bowl 51

It’s been a magical season for the Atlanta Falcons. Now, they try to bring their first Lombardi Trophy back home after Super Bowl 51.

Fans across the world are in for a treat this Sunday, as Super Bowl 51 has the potential to be the best of all-time. Not only are both the Falcons and Patriotswinners of their respective conferences, but they hold elite offenses. Tom Bradyand Matt Ryan combined for 66 touchdowns and nine interceptions throughout the regular season. Along with their high-powered offenses, they have exceptional defenses; both of which were electric after their bye weeks.

But, it’s a first trip to the Super Bowl for everyone but four players on the Falcons. Dwight Freeney, Philip Wheeler, Dashon Goldson, and Courtney Upshaw have five years of Super Bowl experience (Freeney has been in two). Wheeler, Goldson, and Upshaw have seen little-to-no action throughout the season. According to NFL.com, the last seven winners in the past 10 years have been teams with the lesser amount of experience.

Is it the Falcons’ year? Perhaps. Let’s see the top five reasons as to why they can win this game, and possibly with ease.

super bowl 51

5. Controlling the tempo

Atlanta held possession for an average of 23 seconds more than opponents in the regular season. In the postseason, though, they’ve had the ball for almost seven minutes more than opponents (6:58). This has helped them tremendously. How? Because Atlanta has been able to keep two of the most explosive quarterback’s the NFL has to offer, off the field.

In the Divisional round, Seattle held the ball for six and a half minutes less than Atlanta (only 26:41), which led to limited chances to score. After an opening drive that lasted 8:34 and ended with a touchdown, Seattle was held to just 13 points throughout the rest of the game. When they scored their final touchdown in the third quarter, it was too late. Seattle was facing a 36-20 deficit after the score, which would prove to be the last scoring action of the game.

Against Green Bay, the Falcons were able to almost duplicate the same game. The Packers had possession for 20 seconds less than Seattle was given. Aaron Rodgers didn’t have much time at all to create scoring opportunities, and when he did, the Packers were already busy being embarrassed 31-0.

If Atlanta can do this against another elite quarterback in Tom Brady, they will most definitely win this game. The Falcons’ offense is on a different level.

new york jets

4. The trio of receivers

With the addition of Mohamed Sanu, the Falcons had a great player that can complement Julio Jones. It wasn’t too long ago that Jones was Atlanta’s fourth-best receiver. Just three years back, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, and Roddy White were ahead of him. Since then, Jones hasn’t had much help. The decline of White and Douglas and the retirement of Gonzalez meant that he was the frontman. Now, in 2016, the Falcons have Jones, Sanu, and newly-acquiredTaylor Gabriel.

The trio consumed 2,641 yards receiving; more than half of Ryan’s career-high 4,944 passing yards. With all of the attention from defenses going towards Jones, it’s allowed Gabriel and Sanu to flourish in the league’s best overall offense.

They have five of Ryan’s seven passing touchdowns in the playoffs, with Gabriel being the only one deprived of a score. Running the ball hasn’t been efficient for Atlanta in the playoffs, so they’ve had to turn to their strength both games; the air game. Now, the Falcons are facing a tough passing defense in Super Bowl 51. Only three teams have been able to prevent them from scoring 30 or more points, and with the roll that Atlanta is on in the playoffs, I just don’t see New England writing their names in.

Dec 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) during a NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Falcons defeated the Rams 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Revamped secondary

As previously stated, Atlanta holds a lot of overall inexperience on their roster, but most of it comes in the secondary. Their most experienced player is cornerback Robert Alford, who is in his fourth year. Free safety Ricardo Allen and corner Jalen Collins are both in their sophomore years, while strong safety Keanu Neal is a rookie that Atlanta took 17th overall in last year’s draft.

With all of the questions throughout media days and other interviews, the young guns of the Falcons have made it clear that inexperience means nothing.

“We might not have all the experience that they have, but we worked just as hard to get here — you can’t win a game with experience. You gotta win it on the field. – Jalen Collins, per Jared Dubin of CBSSports.com

Before their Week 11 bye, Atlanta let teams score 25+ points seven times. After their Week 11 bye, the Falcons held their final six opponents under 25+, four times. Although games against the Rams and 49ers count for half of these games, the Falcons were able to keep the Cardinals (19 pts) and Panthers (16 pts) on the ground.

Clearly, you can see what they did against the Packers and Seahawks. Holding Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers-led offenses are a tough task, but the Falcons were up for it. Can they keep up the pace? At this rate, they can (assumably) hold New England to 22 points.

2. The backfield will wake up

It hasn’t been the ideal playoffs for both teams when it comes to the running game. It’s more of a shock to see the lack of impact from Atlanta’s backs, though. After becoming the league’s most dynamic backfield, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been practically invisible thus far.

Coleman, the No. 2 back and better pass-catcher of the duo, led both the Seahawks and Falcons in rushing during the Divisional game. He had 11 carries for 57 yards, compared to Freeman’s 14 carries for 45 yards.

Against the Packers the following week, it was Aaron Rodgers leading the game in rushing with 46 yards. Freeman had 42 on 11 carries, with Coleman having 29 on 11. With these amounts of carries, Freeman typically does a lot of damage.

He’s only had 20+ carries twice this season, but eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark regardless. Coleman has been a feature-back who strives in the passing game. With all of the passing that the Falcons have done throughout the playoffs, Coleman has only caught six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.

If Atlanta wants to win this game, they have to establish the run early. They were superior in both aspects of the game in the regular season, and to beat the Patriots, you have to utilize the run and passing game. Returning to the basics and one of their strengths will allow the Falcons to beat the Patriots down, and keep Tom Brady off the field.

1. Matt Ryan (MVP?)

Quarterback Matt Ryan absolutely dominated this season, compiling a hefty stat sheet that brings him atop discussion for league MVP.

Ryan has found his stride with what seems to be the best offense he’s ever played in. His 4,944 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions landed him a First-Team All-Pro selection; the first of his career. Ryan was also elected to his third Pro Bowl but had to skip it for his first career Super Bowl appearance this Sunday.

Including the playoffs, Ryan has surpassed 300+ yards passing eight times, highlighted by a 503-yard performance against Carolina in Week 4. He dominated the Seahawks’ top notch secondary twice this season, beat the Broncos in Denver, and ran a muck of the Packers in the Championship round.

The Patriots have experience all around their secondary, as they routinely visit the Super Bowl. Ryan will have to lead his inexperienced offense into the biggest event in sports, all while taking it in for the first time.

MUST READ: Blount is Patriot’s key to Super Bowl victory

This might sound crazy, but I’m taking Ryan over Brady any day this season. The weapons are there. He’s in his prime. I think Ryan will be Super Bowl 51 MVP and bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Atlanta with an offensive showcase.

This article originally appeared on

PS4 Update 4.50 Will Add External HDD Support, Custom Wallpapers, Boost Mode & More

image: http://cdn3-www.playstationlifestyle.net/assets/uploads/2017/02/ps4-system-software-update-4506-555×328.jpg

ps4-system-software-update-4506

Update: Following multiple leaks from the beta, Sony has confirmed that PS4 Pro’s Boost Mode is included inside PS4 update 4.50.

“Boost Mode lets PS4 Pro run at a higher GPU and CPU clock speed for smoother gameplay on some PS4 games that were released before the launch of PS4 Pro (and has not been updated to support PS4 Pro),” Sony told Polygon. Basically, games with a variable frame rate “may benefit from a higher frame rate, and load times may be shorter in some games too.”

You can see more 4.50 features below.

Original Story: With beta codes now being emailed to those who registered, Sony has detailed “some” of the new features you can expect in PlayStation 4 system software update 4.50, which is codenamed Sasuke.

As detailed below, 4.50 will simplify the Notifications list, bring 3D Blu-ray support to PlayStation VR, and add two highly requested features – external HDD support and custom wallpapers:

External HDD Support

With this update, you have the option to store content to an external HDD. Just plug a USB 3.0 HDD into your PS4, and voilà, you now have more space on the console.

This is compatible with HDDs up to 8TB in size. You can download and install applications directly to your extra storage, and the saved contents are easily manageable through the settings menu.

Also, all the applications saved in the external HDD will appear in the Content Launcher of the Home Screen so it’s easy to keep track of what apps you launched recently.

Custom Wallpapers

This update adds the ability to set your favorite in-game screenshot as the background image for PS4’s home screen. Drop-shadows on text, and the option to dim the Function Area, will help keep the system icons and texts on the home screen clearly visible even if the background image you selected is super bright.

You can also edit screenshots using Photo Mode in Sharefactory to make your one-and-only custom wallpaper.

Quick Menu Refresh

As you may know, in the last system update we overhauled the PS4 Quick Menu feature (the menu that appears after a long press of the PS button on DualShock 4).

This update brings additional improvements to make it even more accessible. Now the Quick Menu will cover even less of your gameplay screen, and you’ll be able to access handy Party features via Online Friends, like creating new parties, inviting friends, and joining parties, without transitioning to the separate Party app. The goal is to keep you in the game — and not stuck in menus.

Simplified Notification List

Before this update, the Notifications app had a variety of tabs on the left-hand side, like Game Alerts, Downloads, Uploads, and more. We’ve condensed all of the tabs to a single simplified list, making it easier to see all of your notifications all at-a-glance.

You can also quickly access the Notification settings from the Options Menu to turn off or customize which pop-up notifications appear on your screen, so you’re only being notified about your top priorities.

3D Blu-Rays on PlayStation VR

If you’re a fan of 3D movies, and you own PlayStation VR, we’ve got good news — this update adds the ability to view 3D movies in stereoscopic 3D directly on the PS VR headset.

Additionally, 4.50 will allow you to post things like text, screenshots, and gifs directly into your Activity Feed, and you can tag games or other PSN users so they don’t miss your post. Live from PlayStation will also showcase screenshots people have uploaded as a Public Activity.

Sony’s John Koller adds that there are “more features included in 4.50,” and further information about the system update, including launch timing, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

One of those features may be a Boost Mode on PlayStation 4 Pro. According to an image (update: and new video) posted on NeoGAF, PS4 update 4.50 will allow older games without PS4 Pro support to have a higher frame-rate.

Someone translated the Japanese text and it reads: “When playing games that were released before the PS4 Pro, frame-rate etc might be able to be raised playing games. If any unexpected behavior occurs during the game, please turn off this option.”

Boost Mode has yet to be announced by Sony, so treat it as a rumor for now, but we may receive confirmation as more details about 4.50 leak out during the beta.

What do you think of 4.50 so far?
Read more at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2017/02/03/ps4-update-4-50-will-add-external-hdd-support-custom-wallpapers/#orMyp6TBhjZuQyjf.99

How protesters plan to get under Trump’s skin wherever he goes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Saturday evening march will begin at Trump Plaza, a high-rise apartment building. President Trump actually hasn’t owned the place since 1991. Fine. It still has the name. It’s a good place to start.

From there, the marchers will head south, walking along the Intracoastal Waterway that separates West Palm Beach from ritzy Palm Beach island. They’ll stop, on police orders, when they reach the bridge.

And then, the plan is to wave signs and glowsticks. The hope is that they’ll be visible across the dark water and the great green lawn of the club, from up in the private apartment that is now the “winter White House.”

If Trump sees those green lights, then he’ll know that his critics have followed him home.

“He is a part-time resident here, and we want to make sure people know his values are not our values,“ said Alex Newell Taylor, 34, an organizer of Saturday’s march. She said thousands are expected.

This is the reality of Trump’s honeymoon-free presidency.

Having sought to create unprecedented disruption in Washington, his critics will now seek to bring unprecedented disruption to his life as president — including demonstrations that follow him when he travels, and protests that will dog his businesses even when he doesn’t.

Already this week, Trump — the most unpopular new president in modern times — cancelled a trip to visit Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee, where local groups had planned to protest his appearance; the White House said the protests were not the reason.

And, around the business empire that Trump still owns, his critics treat each location as an avatar for the president.

There have been small gestures of pique: lipstick graffiti on the sign at Trump’s golf course in Los Angeles, and a plan for a mass mooning of his hotel in Chicago. There have also been more organized efforts to take time and money away from family businesses — a boycott of stores selling Ivanka Trump’s clothes and a campaign to flood Trump businesses with calls demanding that the president divest from his holdings.

For Trump’s opponents, these demonstrations are a way to change his behavior by denting the president’s own self-image, as a popular man with a successful business.

The risk, for them, is that protests meant to shame Trump will consume energy that could be used to beat him by winning elections and swaying votes in Congress.

Protest “gets under his skin,” said Michael Skolnik, a filmmaker and prominent liberal organizer in New York, who supports this sort of protest. He hoped that, somehow, getting under the president’s skin might turn out to be a good long-term political strategy.

“What if Trump can’t come out of bed for four days? That could happen,” Skolnik said.

In his later days, George W. Bush faced protests outside his Texas ranch, from people opposed to the Iraq War. On his travels, President Obama sometimes faced demonstrations from liberals, pushing him to do more on immigration or the environment.

But neither one faced organized protest movements at the start of their presidency, condemning the president across multiple policy areas. Trump does.

It began the day after his inauguration, when more than 1 million marched in “Women’s Marches” in Washington and around the country and globe. It continued the following weekend, when thousands of people gathered at airports to protest Trump’s executive order on immigration, which barred refugees and all visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.

It continued this past week, as the administration was consumed by the chaos that the loosely drafted immigration order set off. In New York City, for instance, hundreds of bodega markets owned by Yemeni Americans closed to protest the same order on Thursday.

“You know how Yellowstone National Park is built on one of the world’s biggest volcanos?” said Ben Wikler, the Washington director for MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group. “It feels like that just exploded in terms of grassroots energy.”

Trump himself has dismissed these protests — operating on the theory that he doesn’t need these protestors to like him and that their anger might actually help him by pushing others closer to Trump. On Twitter, for instance, the president cast the Women’s March as a massive outpouring of sour grapes.

“Was under the impression that we just had an election!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Why didn’t these people vote?”

On Friday — after a pair of violent protests on college campuses where conservative provocateurs were invited to talk — Trump seemed to lump these small groups of unruly protestors in with the rest of his critics from the other events.

“Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” he wrote, though there is no evidence that any significant number of demonstrators are being paid.

Saturday night’s protest near Mar-a-Lago will be a test of what’s next: on a Saturday night, with no election in sight, can organizers raise a crowd merely to haunt Trump from across the water?

The organizers think so. They expect thousands..

“The traditional way of looking at these Facebook events is to look at the number of RSVPs and cut it in half,” Newell Taylor said. But the last few weeks have shown that anti- Trump events are different, she said. They always get bigger than you expect. “With this Trump situation, it’s, ‘Take the number of RSVPs, and double it.’”

Around the country, other groups have directed their unhappiness toward Trump at his business empire, which he still effectively owns, though Trump says he’s given over management to his executives and two eldest sons.

“I am scoping it out right now,” said a woman snapping photos of the sign outside Trump’s golf club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., near Los Angeles. She gave her name only as “Diane,” and said she was scouting the site for a protest

“People are pissed and feel they can’t do anything, but we want to hit him where it hurts,” she said. “I don’t think he wants people near his businesses. We want to hit him where it hurts most, his money.” On an earlier day, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department took a report for vandalism — somebody crossed out “Trump” on the sign with lipstick, and wrote a Spanish swear word instead.

Others were more organized about their efforts.

One group, called “Grab Your Wallet,” was started in October after The Washington Post obtained a 2005 video in which Trump bragged about groping women during a taping of “Access Hollywood.”

Shannon Coulter, who helps lead the group, said she had a visceral reaction after that when she encountered Ivanka Trump-branded items while shopping. Ivanka Trump had continued to campaign for her father after the tape’s release.

“I kind of had [Trump’s] words ringing in my ears,” she said. She helped launch a boycott campaign, which has grown to include more than 60 companies — ranging from the Trump Organization’s own hotels and golf courses to business that carry Ivanka Trump merchandise to businesses whose leaders supported Trump during the election.

Coulter said her Facebook group has more than 11,000 people connected to it. What they want, she said, was to “shop the stores we love with a clear conscience, and without any bad memories.”

Now, three businesses that her group targeted for boycotts have severed or loosened their connections to the Trumps. Nordstrom said it would stop selling Ivanka Trump merchandise, Nieman Marcus stopped selling her jewelry on its website and he chief executive of Uber, the ride-share company, pulled out of Trump’s business advisory council.

Another campaign offers Trump’s critics a more direct — but possibly less productive — way to respond to Trump.

It lets them call up one of his companies at random and complain to whomever answers the phone.

“Until he divests, these [businesses] are embassies of the White House,” said Scott Goodstein, the founder of Creative Majority PAC. He also runs Revolution Messaging, the Washington firm that actually set up the system.

Their system connects callers to one of 30 Trump business phone numbers. It could be a hotel front desk. It could be a restaurant. Goodstein says they encourage callers to “have fun with it.” For instance, if a restaurant employee offers to help make a reservation, one might say: “I have a reservation — that Donald Trump is not taking this job seriously.”

Since this effort started in December, the PAC says it has facilitated 33,000 phone calls, and has been blocked by 51 different Trump Organization phone numbers. He said it’s having the desired effect, squeezing Trump’s business in a way that would squeeze the man himself.

“It’s definitely having an effect on Trump’s businesses,” Goodstein said. “And I’m sure that President Trump will know that this act of dissension is taking place.”

But Alan Garten, chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, said in a telephone interview that the phone calls had not interfered with the business. And even if they did, he said, Trump would not know about it because has resigned from his management roles.

“There’s a complete separation,” Garten said. “He may read [about] it in the newspaper, that I don’t know.”

Fahrenthold reported from Washington. Sandhya Somashekhar and Wesley Lowery in Washington and Bill Dauber in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., also contributed to this report.

Trump’s most forceful executive order on immigration isn’t the immigration ban

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Fridayhalting refugee arrivals into the US for 120 days and barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days.

Prior to the immigration ban, however, Trump signed another executive order, titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” containing a section that expands the role of immigration officials to admit, detain, or deport individuals.

While the immigration ban was met with an immediate backlash from both Republican and Democratic politicians, as well as thousands of demonstrators at the US’s most trafficked airports, experts say the earlier executive order contains sections that could have a massive impact on the US’s immigration policy.

The devil is in the details

Buried in the text of the earlier executive order is a section that could have widespread implications for the enforcement of immigration laws.

Take a look at Section 5:

“Sec. 5 Enforcement Priorities. In executing faithfully the immigration laws of the United States, the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall prioritize for removal those aliens described by the Congress … as well as removable aliens who:

“(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;

“(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;

“(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;

“(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;

“(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;

“(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or

“(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

Immigration lawyers whom Business Insider spoke with had two major concerns regarding Section 5.

protest jfk airportProtesters at JFK airport in New York on Saturday. Associated Press/Craig Ruttle

The first concern is that Section 5 seems to go beyond Trump’s suggestion during his campaign that, at least initially, he would prioritize only immigrants charged with crimes for deportation.

The broad list of criteria would apply to essentially every immigrant living in the US illegally, making them all an “enforcement priority,” according to Mario Machado, a Florida-based criminal defense and immigration attorney who wrote about the order in”Fault Lines,” part of the legal-news website Mimesis Law.

The section’s repeated use of “any,” Machado said, suggests that all convictions, no matter how minor, could become cause to “trigger an enforcement priority and the expenditure of government resources for detainment and deportation.”

Machado went on to describe Section 5 as creating “a federal mandate to snare any and all convicts, no matter how small the peccadillo.”

The Obama administration’s previous rules, established in a 2014 memo, laid out two specific priorities for officials from two law-enforcement agencies tasked with handling immigration. It prioritized for deportation immigrants living in the US illegally who pose a “threat to national security” as well as those who have been convicted of repeat offenses or “significant misdemeanors” like sexual assault or burglary.

The two agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, and US Customs and Border Protection, known as CBP, are housed within the Department of Homeland Security. CBP enforces immigration laws at the border, while ICE is responsible for enforcing immigration laws and carrying out deportations. Immigration advocates see both of those agencies’ roles expanding under Trump.

Trump immigration ban JFK protestPort Authority Police Department officers blocking protesters gathered outside Terminal 4 at JFK airport on Saturday.REUTERS/Stephen Yang

“Trump’s new order is a go-get-’em-all approach,” Stefanie Fisher, an immigration lawyer who is a partner at the Boston-based firm Araujo & Fisher, told Business Insider. “The goal now seems to be to arrest everyone.”

Fisher’s main concern, or what she called “the real danger,” is that increasing the number of those subject to deportation could cause ICE and CBP officials to overlook people who pose genuine threats to national security. For example, a person who was charged with driving without a license could attract the attention of offiicials who would otherwise be focusing on identifying those engaged in terrorism or espionage.

Claude Arnold, a former ICE special agent who now works for Frontier Solutions, a Virginia-based crisis-management firm, told Business Insider that in his 27 years working as an ICE special agent, resource allocation was “never an issue.”

“Line-level employees want to go after the big fish,” Arnold added. “They have huge caseloads. They don’t have time to just be going out and arresting someone just because they’re an illegal alien.”

Another factor that suggests immigration officers may not crack down on minor offenses is detention space: There’s only so much room to hold people awaiting deportation, and Arnold said that if officers were continually bringing in low-level offenders, those offenders would “be kicked out of the backdoor.”

customs and border patrolA CBP officer. US Customs and Border Patrol

The second concern immigration advocates share is that Section 5, subsection (g), directs officials to prioritize removing “aliens” who in “the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

Immigration advocates are concerned that the language leaves the decision of who is detained, admitted, or deported from the US up to the judgment of ICE and customs officials.

“It’s a very vague, very opaque rule that’s likely to be inconsistently applied,” Reaz Jafri, an immigration lawyer who is a partner at Withers Bergman and spent Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York working with those affected by Trump’s temporary immigration ban, told Business Insider. “The decision to admit, or detain a person is in the unchecked hands of customs officers.”

The National ICE Council, a union representing ICE officials, said in a statement that the Trump administration had “empowered” the agency’s officials to “allow law enforcement to do its job.”

“The men and women of ICE and Border Patrol will work tirelessly to keep criminals, terrorists, and public safety threats out of this country, which remains the number one target in the world — and President Trump’s actions now empower us to fulfill this life saving mission, and it will indeed save thousands of lives and billions of dollars,” the union said.

jfkA woman greets her mother after she arrived from Dubai on Emirates Flight 203 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 28, 2017. Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Jafri, however, took issue with the idea that customs officers, most of whom have no legal training, be allowed to make those decisions without oversight. Under the Obama administration, Jafri said, customs officers applied a law with much stricter precedents, guidelines, and regulations than those laid out in Trump’s executive action.

“That all seems to have gone out the door,” he said.

Arnold, meanwhile, believes that Trump’s executive order simply restores the “long-standing” authority for discretion that he said ICE and CBP officers had before Obama’s priority-enforcement guidelines. The Trump administration’s executive order terminated the enforcement priorities laid out in Obama’s 2014 memo.

“Law enforcement need all their authorities available to be productive,” Arnold added. “All I see that this executive order has done is restore discretion to the line-level agent or officer, and leave it up to them to decide how to exercise their authority.”

It remains to be seen how or whether Trump’s executive action will change the conduct of ICE and CBP officials. The sudden rollout of Trump’s immigration ban was heavily criticized as being disorganized, with Jafri, for example, pointing to confusion over how to treat those who held dual citizenship in one of the countries affected by the ban.

Jafri said that even after the US announced exemptions for dual citizens with passports from unrestricted countries, he was still cautioning one of his clients, a dual Iranian-Canadian national who resides in the US, from leaving the country.

Moving forward, the steady trickle of executive orders from the Trump Administration means that for immigration lawyers and border officials, confusion still reigns.

“Whatever I say now,” Jafri said, “may not be applicable in 48 hours.”

Trump to dismantle Dodd-Frank Wall Street rules through executive orders

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/03/through-executive-orders-trump-takes-aim-financial-regulations/97431284/

 

WASHINGTON — President Trump signed two directives Friday rolling back key financial regulations of the Obama era, including restrictions on Wall Street banks and on financial advisers who sell clients expensive financial products with higher commissions, a White House adviser said.

The two executive actions don’t take effect immediately, but rather ask federal agencies to review options to cancel existing or proposed regulations.

Trump and aides said Dodd-Frank rulings aren’t working and are making legitimate investing activity more difficult than it should be.

“Today, we are signing core principles for regulating the United States financial system,” Trump said.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., who joined Trump for an Oval Office signing ceremony, said, “we are returning to the American people, low- and middle-income investors, and retirees, their control of their own retirement savings. This is about Main Street.”

Democrats said Trump’s efforts will re-create the conditions that led to the 2008 financial meltdown.

“During the campaign President Trump said he would be tough on Wall Street,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. “Then he filled his administration with billionaires and bankers and now he’s trying to roll back the rules put in place to prevent another economic crash like the one that occurred in 2008.”

Most Dodd-Frank changes would need to be made via legislation, and Democrats vowed to fight Trump’s plans.

“The president’s attempts to repeal Wall Street reform will be met with a Democratic firewall in Congress,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Trump signed the executive orders in a ceremony Friday afternoon. Previous executive orders have been far more sweeping than originally advertised. The two executive actions are:

► An executive order targeting the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — and especially the so-called Volcker rule prohibiting banks from making speculative investments. The order would direct the secretary of the Treasury to review regulations on financial institutions and report back specific recommendations to the president.

Among the actions being considered are “personnel actions,” the White House official said. While he did not identify those actions, the most vulnerable financial regulator is Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A federal appeals court ruled last year that the bureau’s structure was unconstitutional he exercises “massive, unchecked power” independent of the president. As a remedy, the court said, the president ought to be able to fire.

It could also include a dismantling of “orderly liquidation” authority for too-big-to-fail banks. Last week, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel released a 2010 legal opinion raising constitutional questions about the authority of bankruptcy courts to seize those banks, suggesting that the Trump administration was prepared to rely on the previously undisclosed legal advice.

► A presidential memorandum to the secretary of Labor ordering a delay in implementing a rule requiring financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests. The regulation, known as the fiduciary rule, is scheduled to go into effect April 10. Opponents argue that it would discourage financial advisers from working with low-net worth clients.

The secretary of Labor could delay implementation of the rule, but repealing it would require starting the rulemaking process over from the beginning. That’s because the rule was already finalized last year, with a one-year grace period for compliance. President Barack Obama already vetoed an attempt by congressional Republicans to kill the rule outright.

Presidential Executive Order on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

CORE PRINCIPLES FOR REGULATING
THE UNITED STATES FINANCIAL SYSTEM

By the power vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of my Administration to regulate the United States financial system in a manner consistent with the following principles of regulation, which shall be known as the Core Principles:

(a) empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;

(b) prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;

(c) foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry;

(d) enable American companies to be competitive with foreign firms in domestic and foreign markets;

(e) advance American interests in international financial regulatory negotiations and meetings;

(g) restore public accountability within Federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the Federal financial regulatory framework.

Sec. 2. Directive to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury shall consult with the heads of the member agencies of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and shall report to the President within 120 days of the date of this order (and periodically thereafter) on the extent to which existing laws, treaties, regulations, guidance, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and other Government policies promote the Core Principles and what actions have been taken, and are currently being taken, to promote and support the Core Principles. That report, and all subsequent reports, shall identify any laws, treaties, regulations, guidance, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and other Government policies that inhibit Federal regulation of the United States financial system in a manner consistent with the Core Principles.

Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
February 3, 2017.

Trump Muslim Ban Executive Order Violated Executive Order About Executive Orders

THERE’S NOT A LOT that’s funny about President Trump’s January 27 executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority Muslim countries.

But you have to admit this is a little funny: Trump’s executive order appears to brazenly violate another executive order about how the government should issue executive orders.

It’s sort of like the Supreme Court declaring the Constitution to be unconstitutional.

Presidential executive orders have ranged in history from piddling (giving the executive branch workforce a half day on Christmas Eve) to monumental (the Emancipation Proclamation). Somewhere nearer the piddling end of the spectrum is Executive Order 11030, signed by President Kennedy in 1962 and titled “Preparation, presentation, filing, and publication of Executive orders and proclamations.”

Nevertheless, recent presidents cared deeply about 11030 — in fact, they’ve cared to a degree that’s a little bizarre. For instance, George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13403 in 2006, changing the 1 1/2 inch left-hand margin for executive orders specified in 11030 to 1 inch.

Then in 2014, Obama noticed Bush’s executive order has merely struck out “1 1/2″ from 11030 and replaced it with “1.” This meant 11030 now demanded that executive orders have a left-hand margin of “1 inches.” Realizing this improper pluralization shook the foundations of the republic, Obama signed an executive order “striking ‘inches’ where it appears after the phrase ‘approximately 1′ and inserting ‘inch’.”

Trump’s violation of 11030 goes way beyond improper margins, however. Section 2 begins, “A proposed Executive order or proclamation shall first be submitted … to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget,” which is part of the White House. If the director of the OMB approves the executive order, it goes to the Justice Department and then to the president.

But there’s no sign Trump’s immigration executive order was routed through the OMB at the start, and lots of evidence it wasn’t.

We know the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel received Trump’s executive order, because it sent a memo back to the White House  approving it on January 27.

The OLC memo begins by stating that “the attached proposed Executive Order was prepared by the Domestic Policy Council and forwarded to this Department for review.” That is, it went directly from the Domestic Policy Council at the White House to the Justice Department — with no stop at the OMB in between.

Asked whether it had been receiving draft executive orders from the OMB, a Justice Department spokesperson responded: “We’ll decline and defer to OMB on that question.”

No one at the Office of Management and Budget responded at all to repeated inquiries about whether it was first office to receive Trump’s draft executive orders. The regular White House press office also did not respond. Notably, the OMB did not produce a one-paragraph “budgetary impact analysis” of Trump’s January 27 executive order until January 30.

Moreover, the river of White House leaks about the immigration executive order all agree that it was produced in a highly unconventional way. As Politico reported, the draft order “was so tightly held that White House aides, top Cabinet officials, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and other Trump allies had no idea what was in it even when it was signed — and that was just how top advisers and aides wanted it.”

Of course, given all the grave potential flaws in Trump’s executive order, contravening Executive Order 11030 is the least of it. Kenneth Mayer, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an academic expert on executive orders, says, “What’s the remedy for a violation? There probably isn’t one,” although he does believe “This could go into a claim that the government didn’t follow its own rules, and that makes it capricious.”

Its main significance is just as another sign that the Trump administration has no interest in being minimally competent. According to Matthew Miller, Eric Holder’s spokesperson when he was attorney general, “It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t know [Executive Order 11030] existed.” Mayer views the administration’s overall approach to executive orders as “shocking” and “just breathtaking, the degree of informality and casualness and disorganization.”

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