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Trump Nominates Andrew Wheeler As Permanent EPA Administrator

President Donald Trump onWednesday nominated Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, setting him up to permanently fill a position the former coal lobbyist has held in an acting role since July. 

Three weeks after the start of a partial shutdown of the federal government shuttered many of the EPA’s services, Trump sent Wheeler’s formal nomination to the Senate for confirmation.

“I am honored and grateful that President Trump has nominated me to lead the Environmental Protection Agency,” Wheeler said in a statement. “For me, there is no greater responsibility than protecting human health and the environment, and I look forward to carrying out this essential task on behalf of the American public.”

Wheeler is the latest former employee of an industry regulated by the agency he now leads to be on the verge of ascending in the president’s Cabinet.

Last year, the Senate confirmed Alex Azar, a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. On Jan. 1, former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan took over as acting secretary at the Department of Defense after Secretary James Mattis’ abrupt resignation. The next day, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist and No. 2 at the Department of the Interior, became acting secretary when the agency’s boss, Ryan Zinke, stepped down amid mounting ethics probes. 

Wheeler’s promotion was expected. Trump announced plans to nominate Wheeler to the job in November. Wheeler, the former deputy administrator, told The New York Times that month that he felt he was “making a difference.” 

“This is a transitional time for the agency,” he said. “We’ve started a number of initiatives that I’d like to see through to conclusion.”

Wheeler took over the agency six months ago when scandal-plagued former Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in disgrace. Close allies of Pruitt, including Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), swiftly touted Wheeler as an adequate replacement who would reliably carry out Trump’s pro-fossil-fuel agenda. 

Wheeler delivered. In August, he proposed gutting fuel economy standards for new vehicles in a move seen as a “giant giveaway” to oil companies even as electric automobile technology made historic leaps forward. Weeks later, he unveiled a rule to weaken a landmark Obama-era power plant regulation, allowing by the EPA’s own calculus enough pollution to cause an additional 1,400 premature deaths per year.  

In November, when scientists at 13 federal agencies, including the EPA, determined in the annual National Climate Assessment that global warming was rapidly worsening, Wheeler responded by threatening to intervene in the next report’s drafting. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Wheeler has been serving as acting EPA administrator since disgraced former EPA chief Scott Pruitt (above) resigned in July.

In December, Wheeler handed two more victories to the coal industry that paid him to lobby until mid-2017. In the first week of the month, he proposed softening a rule requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. By the end of the month, he announced plans to relax a rule restricting how much mercury and other dangerous pollutants coal-fired plants can release into the air.  

Installing Wheeler as the nation’s 15th EPA chief is a formality. Last month, Wheeler became the longest-serving acting administrator in the EPA’s 48-year history, surpassing Bob Perciasepe’s roughly five-month stint as acting administrator in 2013. Acting rules for the EPA are vague and have generally gone unchallenged, and some argued Wheeler could have remained in his current role for the rest of Trump’s first term.

Yet with a Republican majority in the Senate, Wheeler seems likely to win confirmation. 

His nomination to serve as Pruitt’s No. 2 faced little opposition. Democrats largely overlooked him during the initial confirmation hearing in November 2017. He couched blatant climate change denial in smooth legalese. He appeared moderate next to Kathleen Hartnett White, the right-wing ideologue nominated to serve as the head of the Council on Environmental Quality, whose humiliating performance captured Democrats’ attention at the confirmation hearing she shared with Wheeler. 

Wheeler’s nomination finally came up for a vote in the Senate last April as allegations against Pruitt began to surface. Ahead of the vote, at least one Democratic senator warned that the process seemed “like a shadow confirmation vote for the next administrator of the EPA.” Yet every Republican and three Democrats in the Senate ― more support than Pruitt himself received in his confirmation vote ― confirmed him as Pruitt’s No. 2.

Republican challengers unseated two of those Democrats, and the remaining one, Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), is expected to support Wheeler again.

Reuters
Trump had announced in November that he planned to nominate Wheeler to be the permanent administrator of the EPA.

Wheeler has faced his own controversies. As HuffPost reported in October, the agency chief repeatedly engaged with incendiary, partisan content on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past five years. The online activity included liking a racist image of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Facebook and retweeting an infamous “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist. At least two Democratic senators called on him to resign. 

In early February last year, The Intercept reported that Wheeler held fundraisers for Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Inhofe in May, five months before his formal nomination to be deputy administrator came before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on which the senators serve.

That same month, HuffPost reported that two nonpartisan groups of regional air pollution regulators accused Wheeler of abusing his power as a Senate aide in the early 2000s to “bully” and “intimidate” the organizations when they opposed a bill Inhofe, Wheeler’s boss at the time, introduced.  

In a statement Wednesday, Barrasso, the Environment and Public Works Committee chairman, vowed to push to confirm Wheeler as administrator. 

“Acting Administrator Wheeler has done an outstanding job leading EPA and is well qualified to run the agency on a permanent basis,” he said. “I will work with committee members to get him confirmed.”

This story has been updated with statements from Barrasso and Wheeler.

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Twelve months of sexist jerkery – and those who stood up to it | Van Badham

From sweet victories to strange male obsessions to straight out sexist garbage, here is the feminists year in review

This week, journalists across Belgrade and five other Serbian cities gathered to demand that Serbias defence minister resign for making a sexist remark. The protests were sparked at a press conference two weeks ago a female journalist crouched to stay out of camera view and Bratislav Gasic thought it opportune to remark I love it when female journalists kneel so easily.

In the face of outrage, Serbias prime minister has promised to dismiss him, but with that dismissal not forthcoming, a furious press corps hit the streets, holding signs that declared Journalists Do Not Kneel.

Sexist garbage like that uttered by Gasic was once a privilege of male social entitlement all over the world, and passed wholly unremarked. But a global feminist movement that can now see its own vastness through access to social media has mobilised impressive denouncements of those still grasping for the privilege of old inequalities.

The protests in Serbia are but the symbolic December conclusion to a worldwide year of sexist jerkery, and the rage spawned in its wake.

JANUARY

The year began in sport, with the humiliating treatment of Canadas highest-ever ranked tennis player, Eugenie Bouchard, at the Australian Open. The 20-year-old former Wimbledon finalist had just crushed Dutch opponent Kiki Bertens in a straight-sets victory, 6-0, 6-3. Yet the attributes of raw strength, tactical mastery and athleticism required for such a victory went curiously uncelebrated in her post-match interview, when male commentator, Ian Cohen, asked the world No7 Can you give us a twirl?

A twirl? She replied.

A twirl, like a pirouette, here you go, urged Cohen, indicating her tennis skirt.

The Guardian reported: Somewhat uncomfortably, the No7-ranked player did as she was asked, then laughed and buried her face in her hands.

FEBRUARY

February saw controversy sparked by the release in Australia of the BDSM-lite pornette movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. The story of an innocent and inexperienced young woman who is sexually manipulated and abused by powerful man had already provoked comment around the world, with Irish feminist Emer OToole inspired to rethink her sexual practices in the wake of the mainstreaming of BDSM and a horrific local femicide. In Glasgow, a bar was roundly criticised for celebrating the films release with a free roll of duct tape given away with every sold pint (thatll shut her up!).

The issue in Australia was even less well-handled. The White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women was already having a problematic February; campaign ambassador Tanveer Ahmed announced in the Australian that feminism itself was limiting the effectiveness of anti-violence campaigns because it was a cult of victimhood focused on male villainy. In that context, the eager White Ribbon beavers whod planned a fundraising screening of Fifty Shades of Grey as a great conversation starter to talk about violence against women sensibly decided to cancel.

MARCH

Sport, again – and March was an unhappy month for the worlds female football fans. It wasnt only that an Indonesian clothing company saw fit to label some of its sports shirts for the Super League football team Pusamania Borneo with the washing instruction Give this shirt to a woman. Its her job. It was the news that British soldiers had shouted sexist abuse at women playing in a football international between England and Australia near a military base in Cyprus, and it was the revelation of an ongoing pay-gap that sees female professional footballers paid a mere third of their male counterparts.

APRIL

April was the month for a sexist controversy in science. A postdoctoral researcher spoke out when an anonymous peer reviewer for a science journal questioned the contents of her and a co-writers research with the suggestion that they should have recruited a male author to ensure its data was correctly interpreted.

The journal apologised for the response, and also for an email to the authors that explained the grounds for rejection were the qulaity [sic] of the manuscript is por [sic] issues on methodologies and presentation of resulst [sic].

The subject of the paper that received the criticism was – ahem – on gender bias in science.

MAY

In May, it was the entertainment industry coming in for criticism over the dress policy enforced at the Cannes Film Festival. Despite denials from the Cannes organisers, reports continued to circulate that women in flats were turned away from Cannes premieres for failing the obligation to meet evening dress requirements a particularly dark rejection, considering one of these women was an amputee. Cannes admission of Natalie Portman fronting in a see-through dress was, of course, no problem.

A greater problem for women in Hollywood was again a persisting gender pay gap, exposed by the infamous Sony Hack of 2014. That as late as October this year, actor Jennifer Lawrence was still publicly condemning it says much as does the gendered expectations of behaviour around pay negotiation familiar to any industry. Hollywood Life reported Lawrence as saying the all-too-familiar:

I would be lying if I didnt say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight, she explained. I didnt want to seem difficult or spoiled. At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the internet and realised every man I was working with definitely didnt worry about being difficult or spoiled.

JUNE

And sexism in the entertainment industry continued into June especially after actor Rose McGowan publicised on twitter the casting call of an upcoming Adam Sandler vehicle. Demands for Wardrobe note: Black (or dark) form-fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged). And formfitting leggings or jeans. Nothing white perhaps should have drawn professional condemnation of Sandler but it was McGowan who was fired by her agent for revealing them.

McGowan remained defiant, defending her right to an agenda: Youre goddamn right I have an agenda, she told Nylon, I have an agenda for people to be better humans.

Her anger is understandable. Closer to home, the entertainment industrys scrutiny of womens bodies took one step closer to the laughable end of hysterical when Australian actor Caitlyn Staseys decision to post Instagram pics containing armpit hair became a news story.

But back to science: as women scientists the world were speaking up about ongoing industry sexism, into the maelstrom blundered the surprisingly hapless Nobel laureate, Tim Hunt. Perhaps he was joking about courting his eminent scientist (and feminist) wife when he quipped that men and women should occupy gender-separate laboratories because you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you but the times were not ripe for such humour, and Hunt was forced to resign.

JULY

Over the course of the entire year, including their history-making progress into the finals rounds of the World Cup which officially finished in July a greater progress than any male Australian team had ever made at international level Australias Matildas were being shockingly underpaid. Receiving just $21,000-$23,000 a year for their work, a proposal to lift their income to a base level of only $33,000 a year was rejected as unaffordable. Industrial protest culminated in their cancellation of a US tour in September quite understandably, given the number of similarly professional male footballers one expects would refuse to walk out on a pitch for less than $33,000 a game.

AUGUST

Bic, the pen manufacturer company that has previously disgraced itself by gendering the humble pen for her, further disgraced itself in August with a sexist campaign in South Africa, using Womens Day to encourage pen-using business women to act like a lady, think like a man to empower themselves for success.

A better use for a Bic pen in August was perhaps considered by Megyn Kelly from Fox News, who had the temerity to ask Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump just why he has called women fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals in previous statements.

The Guardian reported: Trump replied that he did not have time for political correctness, but then went after Kelly on rival network CNN. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.

SEPTEMBER

If Australian sexism has a federal parliamentary mascot, its surely George Christensen, the member for Dawson in Queensland. From a youthful past publishing quotes like the truth is that women are bloody stupid and publishing – only this year – cartoons depicting Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk naked, in September he somewhat unwisely chose to pick a fight with popular internet feminist commentator – and fellow Queenslander – Rebecca Shaw, choosing to attack her looks and choice of clothing. Her takedown response went viral, no doubt spurred by the consciences of her Northern compatriots, who heeded her advice to: Think about the fact that for every second he is in office, and after almost every tweet he sends, he is reflecting poorly upon the rest of Queensland. And lets face it, havent we suffered enough?

OCTOBER

The October preparation of a crew of female Russian cosmonauts for a space mission to the moon did not receive the celebration it should have. Before entering a simulated spaceship environment for eight days of seclusion, the crew of engineers and scientists preparing to pilot, you know, an actual space mission were forced to field questions from the press about how theyd manage their hair, makeup and absence of men on the craft.

Puzzled cosmonaut Anna Kussmaul responded: We are doing work. When youre doing your work, you dont think about men and women.

Yet the strange male obsession with female grooming habits continued the rarified space alien environment which is New South Wales politics, when the secretary to the premier, one Ray Williams, slammed plans to redress the discrepancies between the plush male bathrooms to the under-resourced female ones in the local parliament building designed at a time when female participation in government was much smaller.

The Premier knows full well that if we were to give the women in parliament any more bathrooms, then were never going to get anything done in parliament, said Williams, tenderly.

NOVEMBER

November was certainly the month where women not only fought back, but won. Oft-harassed Fairfax columnist Clementine Ford achieved an all-too-rare victory for online feminists when her reporting of a Meriton hotel group employee who called her a slut online resulted in his employer sacking him.

But the even sweeter victory was earlier in the month, when jockey Michelle Payne, the only female rider in the Melbourne Cup race, also won it. Paynes glorious denunciation from the winners podium that the sexists whod knocked her could get stuffed was a sunshine-bright defiance amid the enduring, misogynist gloom.

DECEMBER

And then December appeared, with the painful realisation that the achievements of Ford, Payne, feminism and, indeed, all women standing up to sexism, drew predictable criticism from male commentators for not being the right sort of feminists.

In a year of sexist jerkery, it was only to be – yawningly – expected.

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This man went viral after falling asleep brushing cats. He’s the hero we need and deserve.

They say that not all heroes wear capes. But some do come equipped with their own magic cat brush.

Internet, Meet Terry, a retired Spanish teacher from Wisconsin whose favorite hobby (and pro-social volunteer activity) has turned him into a celebrity and the unofficial patron saint of all cats who need a cuddle, a brush, and a nap with a friendly human.

A few months ago, Terry appeared (as if by magic!) at The Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay with one request: He wanted to stop by and brush the cats on a regular basis. Soon, Terry was showing up every day and spending up to three hours at a time with the cats.

And all that brushing can get kind of tiring, so Terry would sometimes have to take a nap (understandable). But then other people at the sanctuary started taking photos of Terry napping with his feline buddies. And when those photos were posted on Facebook, well…

Here’s a photo:

Image courtesy of Safe Haven Sanctuary.

And, in the immortal words of DJ Khaled, “another one”:

Image courtesy of Safe Haven Sanctuary.

And one more, because 2018 has been a year and, boy, do we need this:

Image courtesy of Safe Haven Sanctuary.

You can guess what happened from there. After Terry’s pictures hit social media, they were viewed hundreds and thousands, and, by now, probably millions of times.  A fundraiser for the shelter in Terry’s name has already hit more than $16,000.

And there’s a great reason why the internet’s going buck wild for Terry and his animal pals.

What Terry’s doing is incredibly special. Because Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary is a place for incredibly special cats.

In a phone call with Upworthy, Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder and president of the shelter explained that Safe Haven takes in cats who might not have had a home anywhere else.

“We rescue cats with disabilities and special needs — anywhere from anxiety to paralysis to diabetes to thyroid problems,” she said.  “Anything that could put them at risk at another shelter.”  

Sometimes, Feldhausen told us, the sanctuary takes on cases where an owner might have felt like they had no choice but to put a cat down because their medical care costs too much.

If the pictures above look like they might have been taken in someone’s home, there’s a reason for that, too. The shelter’s a therapeutic and cage-free environment. The cats have bedrooms and a living room. And they wander about freely so that they can get used to being around people and feeling safe in their space.

“It helps them a lot to be socialized,” Feldhausen said. “So we’ve set it up in a way as to be psychologically pleasing to these animals who have been through so much.”

Live with Terry 😻❤️🐾 #catnapterry #catgrandpa

Posted by Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc. on Thursday, September 20, 2018

“I’ve always liked cats,” Terry told me when I spoke to him. “And I didn’t have cats as an adult. But when I retired I decided to do something fun and this place emerged. I had been volunteering at other shelters, but this place is special because no cages and the cats can feel taken care of in a friendly environment.”

According to legend (Feldhausen), Terry brings his own brush to groom the cats. And it’s just one more thing that makes them feel special.

“He says it’s his magic brush,” Feldhausen laughed. “That’s why the cats love him so much. He’s not just a grandpa to the cats. He’s the grandpa to everyone at Safe Haven.”

(“I just bought the brush at a local department store, but it’s a nice brush,” Terry laughed.)

Terry just wants the cats to be happy. And you can help.

Terry was brushing cats when I called the shelter (natch), but he took a couple of minutes away from brushing his one special cat to send a message to anyone out there who’s thinking of getting involved with cats who have special needs.

“It’s well worth it, if you have the patience. It takes a very special type of person to work with a special needs cat.”

Terry’s lifestyle — he takes several months off a year to do research in Spain — doesn’t allow him to adopt a cat right now, but that doesn’t mean he’s not making special connections. His favorite cat is a domestic short hair named Buckhorn who’s recently lost his brother to FIP.

“He was so scared. He hid behind a counter for weeks and I didn’t know he existed. Now he’s come out and he’s become my special friend and that’s going to stay with me forever.”

Terry and Buckhorn. Image via Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary.

While not all of us can expect to go viral (“I just fell asleep!” Terry says) for doing good, all of us can do more. And that doesn’t always mean a donation. If you’ve got extra time and the desire to give cats (and dogs and all other domesticated animals) the love they deserve, look up your local shelter and volunteer.  Both you and the animals will be better for it.

As for Terry? Feldhausen says that the sanctuary’s been overwhelmed with calls for volunteers. And while the facility’s too small too accommodate everyone, there’s no chance that anyone’s going to take over for the shelter’s number one grandpa.

“He’s going to be here forever!” Feldhausen said.  

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Tesco ‘fictional farms’ may be misleading – BBC News

Britain’s farmers have said Tesco’s fresh produce labelled with “fictional farm” brands may be misleading.

Despite the British sounding names, the “farms” do not exist and the produce is often sourced from abroad.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) says the labels may give customers a false idea of where the produce is sourced.

Tesco said in a statement: “We’ve named the brands after farms to represent the quality specifications that go into every product across the range.”

New brands such as Rosedene Farms and Boswell Farms were launched on Monday to cover Tesco’s own-label produce.

Phil Bicknell, the NFU’s Head of Food and Farming said: “It is clear that Tesco have identified that customers have a positive affinity with farmers and want to capitalise on this.

“The key question to ask with this is, what are these brands trying to communicate? If this is not aligned with the origin sourcing and specification of the product we must ask if this is misleading to customers.”

Tesco’s statement added: “Every product is sourced from a selection of farms and growers – some are small, family-run farms while others are of a larger scale – reared or grown to our specific standards from known and audited farms and growers.”

The new brands cover 76 new lines that will either match the price of competitors like Aldi or Lidl or beat them.

“Shocking!”

Tesco has been heavily criticised on social media with one tweet reading: “Shocking! Shoppers deserve to know where their food comes from. “

Tesco is not alone in using “fictional farms” to brand its products. Aldi has its own Ashfield Farm brand.

Marketing experts talked to by the BBC felt that Tesco was not being deliberately deceitful. Phil Dorrell from the retail consultancy Retail Remedy said: “I think they are being fairly upfront and honest that these are Tesco own-brands.”

Professor David Hughes from Imperial College London, an expert on food marketing, speaking on Farming Today said: “I don’t think it is particularly insidious.

“But particularly when it comes to fresh produce and fresh food, then from a consumer point of view if there’s a farm name there, the understanding from a consumer perspective is that it reflects a true farm. That isn’t the case. It seems misleading.

“I don’t think it is done maliciously. It’s probably a marketing mistake. Let’s have transparent traceable supply chain. And, if there are farms there let’s have a real farm name.”

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Rad new coloring book takes the stigma out of periods and gender identity

Image: Cass Clemmer/Toni The Tampon

Instead of silently struggling to open tampons in bathroom stalls, Cass Clemmer is busting wrappers open and welcoming tampons into the world complete with googly eyes.

Clemmer, an artist from Washington, D.C., started carrying around “Toni the Tampon” about a year ago and has been documenting the inanimate object’s adventures “outside the wrapper” on Instagram.

“I went from hiding my tampon in my sleeve to taking photos of it in public,” Clemmer tells Mashable.

Now, Toni and an accompanying cast of menstruation-themed friends are starring in a 20-page coloring book called The Adventures of Toni the Tampon, illustrated by Clemmer. And it’s all an effort to destigmatize menstruation for the masses.

Clemmer knows first-hand about problems that stem from a lack of education about periods.

“I didn’t know what a uterus was.”

The artist grew up in a missionary community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in an environment that was conservative and silent around sex education, sexuality and reproductive health.

“I didn’t know what a uterus was, and I didn’t know where this blood was even coming from or why,” Clemmer says. “The only thing I was taught was how to clean it up so the world didn’t see it and then I was sent on my way to figure the rest out myself.”

Though it would be easy to blame this lack of essential knowledge solely on the community’s values, Clemmer learned very quickly that most people around the world receive very little education on menstruation.

“It’s a tough conversation to have with kids, especially when you consider that adults are often struggling with their own internalized period shame.”

“A lot of us are taught to keep periods to ourselves, to the point that even having a wrapped tampon outside the confines of the bathroom can feel inappropriate,” the artist says. “The amount of work and ingenuity that goes into hiding this shared, cyclical experience would be comical if it wasn’t distressing.”

Clemmer decided to create Toni the Tampon’s Instagram account and the new coloring book extension of Tonis social media presence to confront global discomfort with periods. Through creativity and somewhat silly artistry, Clemmer hopes to generate more open conversations and more comprehensive education around reproductive health.

“It’s a tough conversation to have with kids, especially when you consider that adults are often struggling with their own internalized period shame,” Clemmer says. “But hopefully, by opening up a fun and creative gateway to discussion, my period coloring book will help make that conversation a little easier.”

In The Adventures of Toni the Tampon, the characters embark on a series of unexpected adventures, from out-of-this-world space exploration to shredding it up at a skate park.

The coloring book features characters based around different forms of menstrual hygiene products Toni the Tampon, Marina the Menstrual Cup, Sebastian the Sponge and Patrice the Pad.

Image: Cass Clemmer/Toni the tampon

Yes, Sebastian the Sponge is a man. And, yes, men do get periods.

“I’d rather help just one genderqueer or trans menstruator feel like they were seen, than sell a thousand copies…”

In fact, Toni the Tampon isn’t a female character either. Clemmer created the tampon, who goes by a gender-ambiguous name, as a form of representation for genderqueer people with periods. The artist was intentional about bringing diverse gender representation to the book’s cast of characters, hoping to create something that was “affirming to all menstruators.”

Clemmer admits the decision to include genderqueer and transgender characters undoubtedly makes the coloring book harder to market in a world that largely believes only women get periods. But risking profits and popularity in the name of inclusivity and accurate depiction was more important to the artist.

“I’d rather help just one genderqueer or trans menstruator feel like they were seen, than sell a thousand copies only to reinforce the boundaries society draws by gendering periods in the first place, Clemmer says.

Image: Cass Clemmer/Toni the tampon

Clemmer hopes the coloring book will allow people to be more candid about their periods and maybe even inspire them to walk to bathrooms with tampons outside of their shirtsleeves. Maybe, the artist says, colorers will even be inspired to try a product they’d never heard of, like a sponge or menstrual cup.

“I’m not asking everyone to jump for joy when their cycle comes because for a lot of people, periods really suck,” Clemmer says. “But the importance of this period coloring book and Toni’s Instagram is to help people talk about it, laugh about it, and even have a little bit of fun while dealing with the fact that their body is literally pushing out blood and tissue for days on end.”

You can follow Toni’s adventures on Instagram at @tonithetampon, or order The Adventures of Toni the Tampon online.

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Protests over alleged corruption and rising prices spread to Tehran

Angry eruptions proliferate after police disperse spontaneous demonstration in city of Kermanshah in western Iran

Demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans in several cities across Iran on Friday, as protests against alleged corruption and rising prices turned into the largest wave of demonstrations since nationwide pro-reform unrest in 2009.

Police dispersed protesters in the western city of Kermanshah as spontaneous rallies spread to Tehran and apparently several other cities, a day after demonstrations in the north-east, the semi-official news agency Fars said.

The outbreak of unrest reflects growing discontent over rising prices and alleged corruption, as well as concern over the country’s costly involvement in regional conflicts such as Syria and Iraq.

An official said a few protesters had been arrested in Tehran, and videos posted on social media showed a heavy police presence and demonstrations in a number of othercities.

The US State Department said it “strongly condemns” the arrests and was monitoring the protests. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement the US urged “all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

“Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” she said. “As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.”

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests

December 30, 2017

About 300 demonstrators gathered in Kermanshah after what Fars said was a “call by the anti-revolution”. They shouted “Political prisoners should be freed” and “Freedom or death”, and some public property was destroyed. Fars did not name any opposition groups.

The protests in Kermanshah, the main city in the region where an earthquake killed more than 600 people in November, took place a day after hundreds of people rallied in Iran’s second largest city, Mashhad, shouting anti-government slogans in protest against high prices.

Footage that could not be verified showed protests in other cities including Sari and Rasht in the north, Qom south of Tehran, and Hamadan in the west.

Mohsen Nasj Hamadani, the deputy security chief in Tehran province, said about 50 people had rallied in a square in the capital but that most had left after police asked them to do so. A few who refused were temporarily detained, the ILNA news agency reported.

A resident in the central city of Isfahan said protesters had joined a rally held by factory workers demanding back wages. The slogans quickly changed from the economy to target the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the resident said by telephone.

Purely political protests are rare in Iran. The last unrest of national significance occurred in 2009 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president ignited eight months of street protests. Pro-reform rivals said the vote was rigged.

Workers often organise demonstrations, however, over layoffs or non-payment of salaries, as do people who hold deposits in bankrupt financial institutions.

The prominent conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda had called earlier for tough action against the protests. “If the security and law enforcement agencies leave the rioters to themselves, enemies will publish films and pictures in their media and say that the Islamic Republic system has lost its revolutionary base in Mashhad,” the state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.

Alamolhoda, who is Khameini’s representative in north-eastern Mashhad, said a few people had taken advantage of Thursday’s protests against rising prices to chant slogans against Iran’s role in regional conflicts.

Tehran backs Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, in his country’s civil war, Shia militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Social media videos showed demonstrators chanting: “Leave Syria, think about us.”

Eshaq
The Iranian vice-president, Eshaq Jahangiri.

Iran’s vice-president, Eshaq Jahangiri, a close Rouhani ally, suggested hardline conservative opponents of the president might have triggered the protests.

“When a social and political movement is launched on the streets, those who started it will not necessarily be able to control it in the end,” IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying. “Those who are behind such events will burn their own fingers.”

Rouhani’s leading achievement, a 2015 deal with world powers that curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most international sanctions, has yet to bring the broad economic benefits the government says are coming.

Unemployment stood at 12.4% in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, up 1.4% from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million.

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‘Bachelor’ star Bekah Martinez accuses ‘Bachelorette’ contender of sexual harassment

Former “Bachelor” contestant Bekah Martinez is riling up #BachelorNation once again by accusing recent “Bachelorette” contestant, Leandro “Leo” Dottavio of sexual harassment.

On Wednesday, Martinez took to Instagram to call out the long-haired contest from Becca Kufrin’s “Bachelorette” season, with a collection of screenshots from women who claimed that Dottavio had acted inappropriately toward them.

Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s former flame began her series of screenshots with a post by Dottavio, dated from four years ago which said, “you need my big d—.”

The 23-year-old nanny revealed to the New York Post that stumbled upon Dottavio’s alleged screenshot while browsing “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” Reddit pages. 

After Martinez shared the original screenshot on Instagram, the reality star explained that she received “dozens of messages” from more women who responded to her and shared their own experiences. 

 (Instagram)

 (Instagram)

“I started posting the screenshots [of their messages] because to me, it’s not a coincidence that multiple women would be saying similar things about the same person,” she told The Post. “There’s no way these women happen to be lying about the same thing before seeing what other women are saying.”

Dottavio responded to Martinez’s interview with The Post and denied the validity of the inappropriate comment. The 31-year-old stuntman told the outlet that the comment was photoshopped, and has asked his lawyer to look into it. 

Martinez, who said she has never met Dottavio, claimed that she has seen multiple versions of his comment on social media and believes that it is real. The reality star also posted a video on her Instagram story revealing that Dottavio’s lawyer had contacted her asking her to remove her posts and issue a public apology or she would be sued for defamation. 

But the former “Bachelor” contested didn’t seem threatened. The star posted another photo tagging Dattavio with the caption, “please, take me to court,” and a crying-laughing emoji. 

are we cheesy yet? 📷: @jzobphoto

A post shared by BEKAH MARTINEZ (@whats_ur_sign) on Jul 25, 2018 at 4:59pm PDT

And while Martinez has found love with a new boyfriend, since the days of vying for Luyendyk’s heart, according to The Post, Dottavio is slated to appear on the upcoming season of “Bachelor In Paradise,” though he said to not be part of the main cast. 

You can find Morgan M. Evans on Twitter @themizfactor.

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Marisa Tomei: ‘I only got to be old very recently’

A quarter of a century after winning an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny, the actor is causing a stir as Spider-Mans Aunt May. She talks about being allowed to get old and her reputation as a great on-screen kisser

T oo hot, too young, too sexy: these were the cries of outraged comic-book fans on social media when Marisa Tomei was cast as Spider-Mans Aunt May in July 2015. And the then 50-year-old Oscar winner agreed with the backlash. I know, right? laughs Tomei down the phone from New York, where shes preparing for the blockbusters premiere this week. Its lucky I didnt know much about Aunt May, because I might have been horrified if Id seen the original image of a grey-haired pensioner. Dont toy with my heart, Marvel. Is that really how you view me?

She disagrees, though, that her casting was an example of Hollywoods negative attitude towards age. She points out that it makes sense in the context of the franchises latest reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring 21-year-old Londoner Tom Holland as the wall-crawling web-slinger in his high school days: They aged Peter Parker down too. Hes 15 in this movie. I ended up picking the brains of my brother Adam, whos been an encyclopaedia of Marvel since we were little, and he explained that Mays not related to Peter by blood shes his aunt by marriage to his uncle Ben. So she could be elderly or pretty young, depending what age she met her husband. I thought maybe I should lean into it and made a case for them to age me up. A lot of young girls are wearing that silver hair now, so it was something we toyed with.

Indeed, Tomei has her own pet theory about Ben and Mays back-story. I decided that maybe he was her professor. I gave it that sexy, naughty little twist in my mind. Thats not in the movie, by the way. A young, hot Aunt May isnt really a character description, so I fleshed out my own mental picture of who she is. Closer in age to the arachnid adolescent, her Aunt May is more of a teasing big sister figure than an apron-clad, cookie-baking granny type. Peters been a super-nerd with his studies, which is laudable, but my version of Aunt May tries to coax him out of that and broaden his interests, maybe even start dating, says Tomei.

To her mind, the 2017 Aunt May is also something of a second-wave feminist. I had numerous conversations with the director, Jon Watts, about Peter Parker being a local hero, which seems particularly apt for these times. He gets those values from Aunt May, who basically raised him. So we discussed how she might be involved in the community and know everyone in the neighbourhood. We considered making her a pro bono lawyer, but didnt want her to wear suits. Instead we made her a book lover who has her own small publishing firm, like a female collective. Shes got a feminist and humanist edge at least in my head.

Marisa
Marisa Tomei: Every actor is frustrated, always worried they wont get the next job. Photograph: Matthew Frost / trunkarchive.com

For Tomei, Hollywoods sexism is more of an issue than its ageism. Well, I only got to be old very recently, she chuckles. The industry has decided Im an aunt-type now. Im like, is this the way it gets broken to me? But in any profession, theres a lot of sexism. That isnt exactly headline news. In our business, the numbers certainly dont lie when you see how few speaking roles there are for women [studies show that 33% of speaking roles and 22% of protagonists are female]. Its a numbers game and if you start adding in other factors, including age, the odds diminish of getting a great part.

Is that a source of frustration? For sure, but frustration is the name of the game in acting. Every actor is frustrated, always worried they wont get the next job. Thats true of any actor, of any gender, at any success level. And Ive heard it from very, very successful actors. Sexism is part of the culture, thats just a fact, but we can try to change that culture. I like to think things have improved in the century since we got the right to vote. But just because its 75% better, doesnt mean you should stop caring about the remaining 25%. We need parity, both in availability of work and our compensation for that work.

Two years ago, Jennifer Lawrence criticised Hollywoods gender pay gap after the Sony email hack revealed that she earned considerably less than her male co-stars in American Hustle and Tomei has Lawrences back. Why should we get paid 75 cents on the dollar and be told were lucky to have that? she says. Its wonderful that someone like Jennifer speaks out. Why should she be pilloried? I dont understand why its even controversial. We should get paid on parity. And by the way, Jennifer was the strongest element in that whole package. She should have got paid more, if anything.

Tomei is speaking from her apartment in Greenwich Village (Not to be confused with Greenwich, London or Greenwich, Connecticut, she helpfully points out), nine miles from where she grew up in Brooklyn. Shes seen her home patch transform from a sprawling, diverse borough to the hipster haven of today. Brooklyns changed a lot, for sure. You used to say you were from Brooklyn with chagrin. I always wanted to live in the Village but it seemed a million miles way. It was like in Saturday Night Fever, where their whole dream of escape was to get over that bridge. Her parents, both of Italian descent, were a teacher and a lawyer. Crucially, they were also theatre lovers who took young Marisa and Adam to Broadway shows, which so captivated the children, both went into acting.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Tomeis breakthrough role: as Joe Pescis brash, drawling fiancee Mona Lisa in wiseguy courtroom comedy My Cousin Vinny, for which Tomei won an Academy Award for best supporting actress. Wow, is it really 25 years? she says. No wonder you were asking about ageism. I did get old! Its such a funny movie and it really holds up. I was fresh to the business and didnt know how movies worked but Joe chose me for the part, then took me by the hand and guided me immensely, so I got very lucky. I keep my Oscar in my little library here. Maybe I should throw a Vinny reunion party and bring it out to show everyone? Just kidding.

As
As Aunt May opposite Tom Hollands teenage web-slinger in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Photograph: Columbia Pictures

Tomei has since been twice nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar. Im a leading actress caught in a supporting actress vortex, she laughs. But what can you do? First came director Todd Fields 2001 family crime drama In the Bedroom, opposite Britains own Tom Wilkinson. Hes a genius, one of my favourite actors, and it was thrilling to watch Tom work, recalls Tomei. I pestered him many times to ask how he did it, and he eventually told me he just reads the script a lot. I was like, Thats it? Thats your big secret?

Her next Oscar nod was for Darren Aronofskys The Wrestler(2008), in which she played an ageing stripper and single mother who strikes up a romance with Micky Rourkes past-it pro wrestler. I went to high school with Darren, so it was a little dream come true for us to work together, says Tomei. The role involved pole-dancing, lap-dancing and nudity and shes glad she waited until her 40s to do nude scenes. Early on, I desperately wanted to be a legitimate actress and was concerned I wouldnt be taken seriously. Plus Im not sure I could have handled it, emotionally and psychologically. Im pleased it happened later not only because it forced me to exercise a lot but theres also a definite freedom and confidence Ive gained in my body as I got older.

After her Oscar win, Tomei appeared in a string of middling 90s comedy-dramas the likes of Chaplin, Untamed Heart, Only You, The Paper, Slums of Beverly Hills and What Women Want often with a romantic bent and often opposite her then boyfriend, Robert Downey Jr. The relationship didnt last, but their close friendship did. Indeed, Downey (aka Iron Man) was instrumental in Tomei being cast as Aunt May: He recommended me for the role and we had a flirtatious little scene together in Captain America: Civil War [which introduced Tomei and Hollands characters last year]. Having a familiar face around certainly made me more comfortable.

Downey Jr has been teasing fans about a potential romance between their characters, referring to her as Auntie May I? and telling talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel: Spider-Mans got a hot aunt now. My God, imagine the possibilities. Tomei is renowned as a fine on-screen kisser: she snogged her way around Italy with Downey Jr in Only You and won an MTV award for best kiss with Christian Slater in Untamed Heart. Its nice that Im considered a great kisser, she cackles. Its all about the partner, isnt it? And its only on screen. In real life, Im shit.

She has also popped up in two of the biggest TV comedies of all time. Tomei played herself in two-part Seinfeld story The Cadillac as love interest for Lord Of The Idiots George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander. My name was the only reason I got cast, recalls Tomei. They just liked the way my name sounded. [Writer] Larry David told me: When you say your name over and over, it has a really strong rhythm: Marisa Tomei Marisa Tomei But hey, Ill take it. Id love to do a TV show with Jason Alexander. We run into each other all the time and always talk about it.

Watch a trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

She then romanced another unlikely sitcom sex god: The Simpsonss nicey-nicey neighbour Ned Flanders. Tomei guested in a Notting Hill-spoofing storyline about a movie star falling for a shopkeeper. You should ask Ned Flanders what kind of kisser I am, she laughs. Although hed probably just say I was okily-dokily.

Tomei currently alternates between film and stage roles. In the past year, shes starred in a production of Tennessee Williamss The Rose Tattoo (One of my castmates was a goat. A total diva but it had a better union than I did) and Sarah Ruhls off-Broadway play about polyamory, How to Transcend a Happy Marriage. Marriage is being redefined in all kinds of ways right now, so that was interesting, she says. Plus I got to kiss many different people and have a great big orgy scene every evening. It was a real pick-me-up.

Projects in the pipeline include the lead role in Ms, a HBO biopic series about feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem. The scripts still being written but its definitely happening, says Tomei. Im a huge fan of Gloria and her lifes work. Were all indebted to her. Shes a fascinating figure, as were the women around her. That whole period is under-represented on screen. There are lots of great stories still to tell about the womens revolution.

At the moment, though, Tomei is relishing being part of the Marvel machine. Its so old-fashioned in a way: proper spectacle, gloriously larger than life. Spider-Man comes with fervent fans and intense scrutiny. They keep the script so secret, you have to give back your pages at the end of the day. But the system works and they put out really good movies.

Will she be back for the inevitable sequels? Well see. Hopefully the fans will love this new iteration and well do more. Anyway, I think Aunt May should get her own spin-off. Something should go on with Tony Stark, and those two should get into their own capers.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is released on 5 July

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33 Ways Your Boyfriend Is Micro-Cheating (And Totally Getting Away With It)

1.Reaching out toa girl whos just a friend for a recommendation or advice on an issue he couldeasily Google the answer to because he feels like bantering.

2. Giving a waitress or a bartender an obscenely large tip justbecause shes hot AF.

3. Following a ton of hot girls on social media and beginning to feel like he actually knows them because he monitors their every post thatclosely.

4.Sending someone whos not his girlfriend something blatantly provocative, like an article about sex or the porn industry, because he thinks she’ll find it interesting or whatever.

5. Logging a girl in his contacts folder under a code name to avoid detection when she call, texts, and emails.

6. Tagging another girl in an Instagram that reminds him of her or references a seemingly innocuous inside joke between them.

7. Obsessively checking another girls social media feeds and getting way more excited about the non-girlfriends posts than he does about his significant other’s.

8.Confiding in or venting to someone other than his girlfriend when hes feeling especially emotional because he craves the response he thinkshe can only get from that other girl.

9. Going out of his way to tell a woman he met or ran into the night before that she looked amazing or seems to be “doing well.”

10. Purposefully neglecting to mention his significant other in conversation with the friends and colleagues he interacts with regularly so that many of them actually think hes single.

11. Diminishing his relationship as not that serious when in fact hes cohabiting and maybe even engaged.

12. Outright denying that hes in a relationship to extend the flirtatious exchange hes enjoying with some random girl on the train or at a bar, even if he has no intention of trying to hook up with her.

13.Closing his eyes when he needs a minute to escape and daydreaming about thegirl hes crushing on because his opium of the moment.

14. When something awesome happens to him and he chooses to share the good news with another woman first.

15. Reaching out to an ex on a day that was once significant to them as a couple, like their anniversary or the day they first had sex.

16. Going out of his way to do something nice for someone whos not his girlfriend, like hook her up with tickets to a concert or a reservation just because.

17.Telling another girlthathes thinking about her on a day thats not her birthday or a holiday.

18. Worse yet, texting her good morning just to say good morning.

19. Picking up the tab like its nbd when hes out with someone whos not his girlfriend because he wants to impress heror seem cool.

20.Giving another girla hope certificate (i.e. some degree of reassurance that hell be on the market soon) by insinuating that things are rocky between him and his girlfriend when theyre definitely not.

21. Meeting up with another woman for dinner or a drink and insisting that its work related when asked by his significant other for context (and it’s not).

22. Choosing to do something he knows his significant other would enjoylike go for a bike ride, eat at a specificrestaurant, or see a certain moviewith another woman, even when his girlfriends most likely available.

23. Sending a photo to an ex that reminds him of a good time past because he feels like reliving thatoldmemory temporarily.

24. Establishing secret code words and/or inside jokes with women outside his romanticrelationship.

25. Recommending that his girlfriend starts wearing a certain type of clothing because he secretly wants her to look like the girl hes kind of crushing on.

26. Gifting his girlfriend with a bottle of the perfume his crush wears so shell smell like his latest fantasy chick.

27. Keeping a piece of clothing that reminds him of an ex even though its definitely tattered or completely out of style.

28. Raving about how awesome some other girlis to his friends because it makes him genuinely happy to talk about her.

29. Downplaying a certain womans awesomeness whenever shes mentioned around his significant other as if proactively doing damage control.

30. Asking for agirl’scontact information under the guise of potentially working together even though he knows there isnt a chance in hell theyll be collaborating professionally.

31. Following up with a nice to meet you message unnecessarily.

32. Spending all of his time engrossed in conversation with another womanat a party or event even though he brought his girlfriend as his date.

33. Mindfully leaving his wedding ring at home when he heads out with theboys(not so much because he wants to get lucky, but just because he wants to feel like its in the realm of possibility for him again).

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Houston shooting: Gunman aimed at police, bystanders; 2 dead

(CNN)Two people died, including a suspect, after at least one gunman armed with a high-powered rifle opened fire Sunday in Houston, aiming at bystanders, police patrol vehicles and a helicopter.

The slain victim was a man shot in the head inside his vehicle, acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo told reporters. A suspect also was killed, police said.
    A second armed mansuffered gunshot wounds and was taken into police custody. Police originally described him as a suspect, but later said they weren’t sure.
    “He’s telling us a version as to what his involvement is,” Houston Police spokesman John Cannon said. “We need to verify that before we say anything publicly.”
    A motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately clear.
    “We do not know what started this,” Montalvo said, “but what we do know is they were shooting randomly, just at whoever.”
    A total of eight people were shot, including the suspect, police said.
    Two deputies injured in the shooting were treated and released, police said. Three other victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

    Police: Gunman had two weapons

    Cannon said the main suspect in the shooting wielded at least two weapons: a pistol and an AR-15 rifle.
    According to police, the suspected gunman used the pistol to shoot dead a man in his 50s who was parked at an auto detail shop.
    “(The victim) had simply driven there, parked his car to get detailed, and within a minute or two, that’s when the suspect came out and shot him for no apparent reason,” Cannon said.
    Several people in the area said their vehicles were shot at, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
    Police posted a photo on Facebook showing a patrol vehicle’s windshield riddled with bullets, saying the officer inside was “lucky to be alive.”
    At least 21 bullets hit that vehicle, police said, and the gunman’s high-powered weapon also struck four other law enforcement patrol vehicles.
    Videos posted on social media showed police cars racing through the neighborhood as gunshots rang out and a plume of smoke rose overhead.

    Suspect fired at police chopper

    As a SWAT team and a police helicopter responded to the scene, at least one gunman opened fire at the chopper, police said. The aircraft was hit by at least five bullets, Montalvo said.
    Authorities haven’t released further details about the victims or the suspects.
    A fire also broke out at a nearby gas station during the shooting. Investigators believe it may have been caused by gunfire hitting a gas pump, Montalvo said.
    The shooting left people in west Houston rattled, CNN affiliates reported.
    “You don’t expect to hear gunfire on a Sunday morning in this neighborhood,” resident Bill Robinson told CNN affiliate KTRK. “So, pretty quickly you put two and two together and say, ‘it is gunfire,’ and get your family safe and get locked down.”
    Ryan Harper told KTRK that he watched out a bedroom window while his wife and kids huddled in a closet.
    “We saw the cops and the SWAT run down one of these driveways in the backyard,” he said.
    Montalvo, the acting police chief, said shootings can happen in any neighborhood.
    “It doesn’t really matter where you live,” she said. “But the police were here. They responded very very quickly at their own peril.”

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