President Trump’s 2017 Report Card (first draft)

As we approach the holiday season there will be much debate on how President Trump has performed for his first calendar year. As a populist president, I think the best way to judge his performance is by focusing on the issues voters say are their top priorities. Pew Research polled voters to determine their political priorities for 2017. Let’s see how President Trump is doing so far on the top ten priorities according to the public.

Terrorism (76% rated top priority)

ISIS is on the run, thanks in part to President Trump’s loosening of the rules of military engagement, as well as pivoting from a Whack-a-Mole strategy to a total annihilation strategy with no withdrawal date. Both moves are good persuasion. And while President Trump’s “extreme vetting” is unpopular with many citizens, it has probably reduced risk to the homeland. And General Mattis is widely considered to be a strong hire.

     Grade: A

Economy (73% rated top priority)

I’ll give President Obama 75% credit for the strong economy. But I think consumer confidence and the stock market tell us there is optimism about the current administration. That confidence is buoyed by Trump’s reduction in regulations via executive orders, his tough talk on trade, and his persuasion toward a higher GDP that is already becoming self-fulfilling. If people believe the economy will be better next year than this year, they invest this year, thus making next year better. We might see something good come out of tax reform, but I don’t think it will matter as much as people assume.

     Grade: A

Education (69% rated top priority)

I’m not aware of any federal changes in this area that would be big enough to make a difference. But it is also unclear how much the federal government can do on an issue that is managed by the states. Unfortunately for the Trump administration, the mental anchor in our minds for education is Bernie Sanders’ idea of free college. If that’s the standard, the Trump administration is not even in the game.

     Grade: C

Jobs (68% rated top priority)

Unemployment is low. Illegal immigration is down by half. Corporations are bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, at least in part because of Trump’s direct persuasion on this point. A cut in business tax rates could improve things further.

     Grade: A

Health care costs (66% rated top priority)

President Trump offered to sign any health care bill the Republican congress could pass. They tried twice and failed twice. The public sees this as more of a problem with Congress than the presidency, and the public is right. But it is also true that the President did not fully engage his persuasion game on this topic, allowing Republicans to fail miserably. Is that bad? It depends.

I have been saying for months that the only way to get a good health care bill is by letting the Republican Congress fail a few times so they become flexible (more bipartisan) later. President Trump’s potential influence over health care will grow over time as both sides look at a failing Obamacare system and don’t want to explain their failure to voters in 2018. I’m predicting we will have health care legislation before summer, but the only way to get there is by letting both the current system and Congress continue to fail. That is happening.

President Trump did sign an executive order allowing groups to organize to purchase health care insurance. That could help, but we see nothing useful from it yet.

     Grade: Incomplete (with a progress grade of D- so far)

Social Security (60% rated top priority)

Social Security is a Congressional budget issue. But President Trump promises to keep it strong. Not much happening on this topic. But a strong economy is a good foundation for having a solid safety net, and we have that going for us.

     Grade: B

Medicare (59% rated top priority)

Medicare is a Congressional budget issue. I’ve seen nothing significant from President Trump on this topic. But again, a strong economy helps here too.

     Grade: B

Poor and needy (56% rated top priority)

A growing economy is the most effective way to help the poor and needy in the long run, and things are going well on that front. But expect Republican budgets to look “mean” to this demographic.

     Grade: C

Race relations (56% rated top priority)

President Trump is an “America First” president, and that includes treating all legal citizens the same under the law. But the optics of that approach create the impression that the administration is racist for ignoring identity politics and playing hardball with illegal immigrants. In my opinion, the Trump administration has mostly fumbled this issue from the start of the campaign until now. The anti-Trump media is probably at least 60% of the problem in terms of how people feel about this topic, but you can’t blame them for hitting lots of targets in a target-rich environment.

     Grade: F

Reducing Crime (56% rated top priority)

I haven’t noticed any improvement in this area that would be related to the federal government except for a decrease in immigration and an improvement in the economy (which I assume reduces crime, but maybe not).

     Grade: C

You might be wondering about climate change. That issue, to my surprise, is not in the top ten. Likewise, judicial nominations and several other topics I expected to be important are not in the top ten. But those omissions from the top ten probably don’t matter for this exercise because partisans would disagree on what success looks like in most of those areas. Is it a success to nominate qualified conservatives to the courts? It depends on your political affiliations. Is it a success to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord? Again, it depends on your political perspective. And that might account for why the harder-to-score issues rank outside the top ten priorities. We all know what a good economy looks like, but we would disagree on, for example, the optimal size for the military.

I submit my scorecard here as a work in progress, with probable revisions coming based on your critiques.

You might want to read the best book ever written because it also comes in an audio book.




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John Lennon’s Christmas Card to Yoko Ono’s Ex for Sale

Months before John Lennon told The Beatles he wanted out, he was so focused on Yoko Ono … he hand wrote a Christmas card to her ex-husband, which is now available for wealthy collectors.  Lennon penned the card to music producer Tony Cox…


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Children of the Fleet (Unabridged) – Orson Scott Card

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Children of the Fleet (Unabridged)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 23.95

Publish Date: October 10, 2017

© ℗ © 2017 Macmillan Audio

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Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony To Thunder For Irregular Socks & An EBT Card

Carmelo Anthony is going to be running with Russell Westbrook. The New York Knicks have reportedly agreed to trade the star small forward to the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

To say that the trade seems one-sided, in favor of OKC, is an understatement.

According to ESPN, in exchange for Melo, the Knicks will receive Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round pick. Hoodie Melo had recently included OKC among the teams he’d be willing to accept a move to by waiving his no-trade clause.

Pray for Kristoff Porzingis, because he’s gotten no help and will be getting all the attention. McDermott has not lived up to his 1st round draft pick billing and Enes Kanter is a stiff of a big man (don’t be fooled). No shots.

Carmelo Anthony is now 32-years-old but seems to have plenty left in the tank. And on another note, Melo is raising money to aid Puerto Rico after the commonwealth was hit by a pair of hurricanes.

Salute to Melo, more of NYC will now realize the gem of a pro athlete they had repping the town.

Photo: Getty

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Visa Vows: The Wedding Expenses Credit Card

Visa Vows: The Wedding Expenses Credit Card

Visa Vows: The Wedding Expenses Credi… 2:18
For the people who have too many weddings to attend, Visa Vows has you covered for all those annoying wedding related expenses.
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Twitter Imagines Trump As A Hallmark Card Writer And It’s … Sad!

But accurate. And hilarious.
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Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition (Unabridged) – Orson Scott Card

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Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition (Unabridged)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 23.95

Publish Date: January 1, 2002

© ℗ © 2002 Macmillan Audio

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Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition (Unabridged) – Orson Scott Card

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Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition (Unabridged)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 23.95

Publish Date: January 1, 2002

© ℗ © 2002 Macmillan Audio

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Thirteen Months Out from The Election, The Sexism Card Is Already Being Played

Twice in the past week, charges of sexism have been fired at the Bernie Sanders campaign—are we at that stage of the race already? First there was Hillary Clinton jumping on Bernie Sanders' debate remark…

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Tom Hanks finds student’s ID card and …

Actor Tom Hanks found a college student ID card belonging to a woman named Lauren and reach out to her on Twitter. CNN affiliate WCBS reports. – Entertainment

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Handling Credit Card Debt During and After Divorce

Divorce can drain funds from the checking account. The attorney needs a retainer. (And likely, so does one of the kids!) You need money to pay consultants and maybe a custody evaluator or other experts. Perhaps you’ve set up a new household. And maybe you haven’t worked in a decade so your employment options include volunteering to get experience or a minimum wage part time job that doesn’t come close to meeting the rent and utilities.

Whether you’re slamming down the credit card to cover the lawyer’s fees, first and last month’s rent for a new apartment, or the kids’ school supplies, credit card debt is easy to rack up. Before long, you’re anxiously dodging monthly statements, hoping there’s enough to cover minimum payments, and realizing you’ll probably owe money for decades.

Los Angeles attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist Steve Mindel, managing partner at Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt, & Klein, says there are numerous levels of credit and debt for divorcing women who may not have established credit in their own names. No matter where you are in the divorce process, there are key issues to address.

Establish Credit. While you’re in the planning stages, establish credit in your own name. Life without credit is almost impossible in America today.

Know Your Credit Score. You’ll not only be dividing assets but also assigning debt. Ascertain what’s in your name, what’s in your husband’s, and what you hold jointly.

Talk to a Financial Planner or Accountant. You’ll have lots of financial decisions ahead of you as you proceed through divorce. When you liquidate assets like a house or IRA distributions, you’ll need to assess if it’s better to use the money to pay high interest credit cards or to leave where the money where it is and pay monthly. You’ll take a beating but will have cash. If you aren’t in that league, you can still contact the Better Business Bureau to find nonprofit debt review entities.

Split Custody of the Cards.
Divide credit card debts between the two of you. “You get the Amex and Citibank Visa; I’ll take the Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.”

Consider a Loan from a Peer to Peer Lending Platform. Peerform Lending’s Gregg Schoenberg says, “We’re trying to be in the best position to facilitate loans that often beat credit cards, which are very expensive. The sector has definitely picked up steam since the financial crisis. Banks are concerned about plugging holes in the balance sheets and innovation has filled the void. Marketplace lenders like Peerform Lending have been growing.”

Consolidate Debts. Schoenberg says marketplace loans are absolutely good for debt consolidation. “If a woman who is in the process of going through or has gone through a divorce needs to get her financial house in order, the idea of paying significantly less in many cases than what credit cards charge each month can make very good financial sense,” he adds.

Use a Short Term Loan for Large Purchases. “You wouldn’t buy a house on a credit card,” adds Schoenberg. “If you have a specific expenditure like moving expenses, furniture, or medical bills, a term loan can make sense. But, traditional banks don’t like to extend term loans to people who actually need the money.”

Don’t Cut Up All Your Credit Cards. Research FICO scores. Keeping a zero balance and charging from time to time rather than closing credit accounts may keep you in good stead.

Create a Strategy. Recognize there are different ways to finance purchases. Schoenberg says he believes in debt segmentation as part of an overall financial strategy to get control over every dollar spent. “I believe that part of that strategy needs to involve discipline. Knowing when you borrow $ 8,000 for X and paying every month can be a very effective tool versus using a credit card with a high limit.”

Scale Back Expenses to Match Income. Mike Cardoza, family law expert and author of “The Secret World of Debt Collection” says, “Don’t count 100 percent on child support or maintenance, which may be late. You may need to save money to sue for enforcement of payments. If you work for $ 25,000 a year and have child support and maintenance on top of that, aim for disposable income of $ 300-500 per month.”

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Man Receives Father’s Day Card From Dead Son — 26 Years Later

The Father’s Day card may have been 26 years too late, but for one dad in Lynchburg, Virginia, it was a priceless gift from beyond the grave.

In 1989, Duane Schrock Jr. wrote his dad a note for Father’s Day and sent it in the mail. The card was lost in transit and his dad never received it.

Until now.

Duane Schrock Sr. told WSET that his son’s card finally found its way to him, fittingly arriving at his home a few days after Father’s Day this year.

“Somebody picked up the ball and carried it and after all these years they must still have forwarded it,” Schrock, who is 87, told the news outlet. “I still kind of tear up when I think about it.”

The card had evidently been returned to sender and forwarded on several different occasions. Shrock says he’s moved all around the country in the intervening years.

fathers day card

“Dear Dad,” the card read, per ABC News. “We haven’t been in touch for quite a while, I’m doing fine and am very happy in Richmond, I’d like to hear from you. Have a Happy Father’s Day. Love Duane.”

Shrock said the letter was an especially poignant surprise as his son, who was gay, died of AIDS in 1995. Shrock added that their relationship had been strained when Duane was alive because he’d struggled to accept his son’s homosexuality.

The letter, Shrock told WSET, was “like a sign from heaven that his son is doing just fine.”

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Gay Voices – The Huffington Post gay - First Date 300x250

Penn & Teller perform baffling card trick on TODAY

As they prepare for their new Broadway show, “bad boys of magic” Penn Jillette and Teller are in Studio 1A to dazzle Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Ellie Kemper with a baffling card trick.

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Ender’s Shadow (Unabridged) – Orson Scott Card

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Ender’s Shadow (Unabridged)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 29.95

Publish Date: August 2, 2005

© ℗ © 2005 Macmillan Audio

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Shadow of the Hegemon (Unabridged) – Orson Scott Card

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Shadow of the Hegemon (Unabridged)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 26.95

Publish Date: September 1, 2002

© ℗ © 2002 Macmillan Audio

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Xenocide (Unabridged) [Unabridged Fiction] – Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card - Xenocide (Unabridged) [Unabridged Fiction]  artwork

Xenocide (Unabridged) [Unabridged Fiction]

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 35.95

Publish Date: April 1, 2000

© ℗ © 2000 Macmillan Audio

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Sex Pistols credit card launches

The Sex Pistols having their logo on a credit card is like Morrissey endorsing Purdue chicken. It’s just not right. RSS feed
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Wild Card – Simon West

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Wild Card

Simon West

Genre: Action & Adventure

Price: $ 9.99

Rental Price: $ 0.99

Release Date: January 30, 2015

Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal professional skills and a personal gambling problem. When a friend is beaten by a sadistic thug, Nick strikes back, only to find out the thug is the son of a powerful mob boss. Suddenly Nick is plunged into the criminal underworld, chased by enforcers and wanted by the mob. Having raised the stakes, Nick has one last play to change his fortunes…and this time, it’s all or nothing. From two-time Academy® Award winning writer William Goldman.

© © 2014 SJ Heat Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Chet Haze — N-Word Card Revoked by Black Rapper Friend

Tom Hanks’ rapper son Chet Haze is being disrespectful to black people by throwing the n-word around … so says a rapper friend of his who also happens to be black.  Scrilla King — who has collaborated and performed…


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News in Brief: Party Guest Hoping Birthday Card With Shirtless Hunk Taken In Playful Spirit With Which It Was Intended

ALBANY, NY—Second-guessing the purchase as she arrived at her friend’s birthday party Friday, area woman Kelly Hardin told reporters she hoped her humorous card featuring a shirtless hunk would be received by Amanda Riordan in the fun, lighthearted spirit with which it was intended. “The image is a bit risqué, what with the man showing off his bare abs and all, so hopefully she’ll understand the suggestive nature of the card was meant as a joke and its sole purpose was to amuse,” said Hardin, adding that, by presenting the image of a tanned, muscular stud wearing nothing but tight jeans and a cowboy hat and wishing the recipient a “very sexy birthday,” she in no way sought to imply that Riordan was presently in need of sexual gratification or excessively libidinous in nature. “She probably won’t be offended and will instead see the ridiculous photo …

The Onion

My Cyber Dance Card Is Empty: Online Dating After 40

Recently I met a single girlfriend for coffee and she bitched, “Jesus, this online dating thing is like having a part-time job. I can’t manage all the emails. I have to use descriptive code names to keep them straight: 90 degrees, Firepower, Beard of Love, Jagger Tongue and Hairless Harry. But-“

“What’s the 90 degrees stand for?” I interrupted.

“He’s got a curved –“

“Really? A right angle? I’d like to see that.”

I cringed as she complained about being overwhelmed with dates. That hasn’t been my experience. There’s no line of single men wrapped around my cyberblock. “Yeah…I don’t know,” I confessed, “I think it’s time for me to throw in the towel on the whole online dating thing and go back to wearing comfy undies.”

“Don’t do that. You need to get out. Be seen. Have fun. You can’t spend every Friday and Saturday night in your bathrobe watching HGTV.”

“I’m all for having fun, but the online thing never works for me. One weirdo insisted I send him a selfie on the scale to verify I have curves, not rolls. Another said he was divorced when he wasn’t. One creep’s opening line was, “So…what’s your favorite line in The Hobbit?” I might just buy a Snuggie, a Slurpie punch card, and adopt seven or eight cats,” I said.

“Lemme see your profile,” she insisted.

I thought it was pretty decent. After all, I’m a writer. I sounded smart, creative and kinda funny. But after careful examination, I realized it read more like an ad for a rescue dog: friendly, outgoing, dependable, and loyal. It may have been code for: please take me home, pant, pant… I’m desperate…pant, pant. The only thing missing: great at licking balls.

My friend was adamant, “Men are looking for a sexy, confident woman, not a lonely pup from the pound. Simply bedazzle your profile. Add stuff like: former gymnast, culinary whiz specializing in aphrodisiacs, and financially independent Victoria’s Secret hoarder.”

“Yeah, but that’s a bunch of bull. I’m not all those things,” I said.

“Right,” she said, “but who cares? You only need to sound interesting. You don’t need to actually be interesting.”

“Oh God,” she moaned, continuing to read my profile. “Epic fail here. You can’t mention you’ve got three boys.”

“But I have three boys–“

“Well, you don’t need to brag about it. Kids are a turn off. The mother-thing is a drag.”

“The mother-thing? Most men have their own children.”

“News flash: divorced 45 year-old men don’t want to date 45 year-old moms. They want women in their 20s and 30s. Younger women — even if they have six kids. In fact, 50-60 year-old men want women in their 20s and 30s, too. I suppose some older men might settle for a 45 year-old.”

“Settle? Jesus, don’t hold back.”

“Yeah, well, this is the shit people don’t tell you when you get divorced.”

“You see,” she continued, “for the most part, men 55 – 65, the ones who might have an interest in you, have grown children. They don’t wanna carry your lawn chair to soccer games, spend Saturdays at swim meets or help with homework on school nights. They rode that roller coaster with their first wives. You need to appear flexible, carefree, and able to travel on a whim. They won’t invite you to the BVI or Vail if you’ve got three kids. They want a playmate, not a second family to raise.”

“So, let me get this straight,” I said. “I should fake that I don’t have kids in order to get dates with men who have kids, who I’ll eventually have to stop dating because I have kids.”

My friend bit her lip and tapped her fingernail on the table. “Yeah,” she said, “basically you’re screwed. Good thing you have a dog.”

Read more from Liesl on her website, Hairpin Turns Ahead. Follow Liesl on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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We Made A Commencement Bingo Card To Track All The Clichés You’ll Hear

“As we go forth” into graduation season, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that your commencement speaker is not being original when they announce “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Perhaps Ira Glass said it best during his speech at Goucher College in 2012 when he declared them a “doomed form” in a commencement address of his own. “Commencement speakers give stock advice which is then promptly ignored,” Glass said. Stock, indeed.

We created a bingo card you can use to track all of the clichés you are bound to hear or encounter while going through your commencement and subsequent graduation festivities. Many of these tropes are based on what you’ll hear during your commencement speeches. Others are things that’ll happen later on at the graduation party, like getting a copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. (It’s a great book, but we’re just saying “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” could work too.)

We’re not totally against each one of these — you really should pursue your passion and, if it’s actually funny, pulling some sort of stunt on stage is a nice way to spice up the ceremony. But let’s see how many of these you can spot during your commencement.

commencement bingo
Graphic by Tiara Chiaramonte

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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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SAG Awards 2015: Style Report Card

There was a lot of winning style on the SAG on the red carpet. And now, Access breaks down the standout stars.

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Speaker for the Dead (Unabridged) – Orson Scott Card

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Speaker for the Dead (Unabridged)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy

Price: $ 23.95

Publish Date: October 18, 2002

© ℗ © 2002 Macmillan Audio

iTunes Store: Top Audiobooks in Sci Fi & Fantasy

Win a $100 Shutterfly Gift Card and Mark Ronson CD!

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Golden Globes 2015: Style Report Card

It was the ladies who showed true red carpet style at the Golden Globes 2015. And with a keen eye on every fashion detail is Access’ style expert Louise Roe.

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Romo, Cowboys rally past Lions 24-20 in wild card

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes to Terrance Williams, the second for the lead late in the fourth quarter, and the Dallas Cowboys rallied for a 24-20 wild-card win over Detroit on Sunday in their first playoff game in five years.
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Dr. Luke Submits Birthday Card In Defamation Suit Against Ke$ha

Dr. Luke has handed over a birthday card from Ke$ ha as evidence in his ongoing defamation suit against the singer. The producer’s defamation suit came after Ke$ ha had filed sexual assault and forced drug use charges against him. She later also publicly claimed that Luke had raped Lady Gaga.
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Pot Shot: Pro-Marijuana Group Mocks Maureen Dowd With Christmas Card

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd will never forget her bad experience with a marijuana candy bar this year – and the eight-hour “hallucinatory state” it put her in – at least in part because the pot advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project won’t let her.

Earlier this year, the organization used a Dowd…… News


Vanessa Bryant — Taps ‘Project Runway’ Designer … For Xmas Card Dress

Vanessa Bryant takes her Christmas card photo VERY SERIOUSLY — so seriously in fact that Mrs. Mamba tapped one of the top designers from “Project Runway” to make her dress. Kobe Bryant’s wife called upon MTCostello — who has designed clothes…


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