Congressional leaders are scrambling to make sure the budget stalemate that’s led to a government shutdown this weekend doesn’t impede the regular monthly payments that members of Congress make to to Katie, Ashleigh, and other interns and staffers who’ve agreed not to have lunch or otherwise talk to reporters from the Washington Post, New York Times, or other news organizations about their time on Capitol Hill.
“People think of these non-disclosure payments as a minor budget item but I can tell you they’re not and members are very concerned that these payments not be disrupted due to the shutdown,” a staff aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today.
The aide, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak frankly about sensitive budgetary matters, said lawmakers pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars each month to interns and aides, mostly women but also some men, who’ve signed non-disclosure agreements about their time working on the Hill. “One of the unfortunate side-effects of a government shutdown is that, unless the payment is considered essential to national security or some other critical function of government, payments simply stop going out,” the aide said. “So, if you’re a member, you have to weigh shutting down the government over, say, undocumented immigrants brought here as children or keeping Ashleigh happy. What you don’t want is that intern you brought in last summer wondering why her monthly check for $2,500 hasn’t come in. Is she going to have to call her friend at the Post? That’s a real consideration for members.”
The Congressional Budget Office doesn’t disclose how much is paid out each month in non-disclosure agreements, but House and Senate aides say the amount is considerable. “We have one senator whose payouts would fund the military of a small African country,” one aide said. “Of course, he chairs a powerful committee, so it’s worth it.”
Aides from the House and the Senate have been working on a joint recommendation that the payouts be classified as an essential governmental function and thus exempt from being put on hold during a shutdown. Members are expected to take up the recommendation by Monday, whether or not the broader budget issues are resolved, because of the urgency of the issue.
“We think a case can be made that having hundreds of women all of a sudden start talking about the late-night pizza dinners with their bosses or the diplomatic trips to the Cayman Islands would in fact constitute a national security matter,” an aide said. “You can imagine what a foreign adversary could do with that information. So, we think this could be a non-issue in a few days, But right now we have a number of lawmakers who have something on their minds other than DACA kids, I can tell you that.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Conservative news tabloid National Midnight Star released a blockbuster report today claiming Donald Trump’s relationship with porn star Stormy Daniels in 2006 didn’t occur spontaneously but was arranged and paid for by his wife Melania so she could “get him out of the bed for a freakin’ while” and focus on raising their son. “You have to understand, Melania thought having sex with Donald Trump was a small price to pay to get the lifestyle she wanted with his money,” says a White House staffer who was quoted anonymously by the tabloid. “But she realized after a year with him that it wasn’t a small price at all; it was a price that was too steep for her to pay and she became desperate, as anyone would.” More.
Stephanie Graham, spokesperson for Melania Trump, said it’s not true that the First Lady reversed her plans to attend the world economic summit at Davos, Switzerland, after learning Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, would be there. “Reports that the First Lady was planning to attend Davos and backed out only because Ambassador Haley was attending are not true and should be corrected immediately,” Graham says. “The First Lady has a scheduling conflict that is preventing her from attending Davos, which she was very much looking forward to doing.” Davos is the annual gathering of the world’s business elites and thought leaders to discuss the state of global economics, technology, and culture. Rumors have been multiplying in recent days that Haley and President Trump are carrying on an affair and that the First Lady only learned of it after Michael Wolff, author of the blockbuster book Fire and Fury, hinted about it in his TV interviews. More.
GREENVILLE, S.C.—Deja Vu was bustling on Monday night but many of the men at the strip club weren’t enjoying the star attraction’s dance routine. The club was featuring Stormy Daniels, the newly famous stripper who allegedly was paid $130,000 before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about an affair she had with Donald Trump after his youngest son was born. But instead of being treated to a dance routine involving booty shakes, the men got what looked like a complex interpretive dance routine. “I’m not sure, but I think she was trying to tell a story or something,” said Jake Snyder, a regular at the club. More.
Kinko Bot®, the Japanese company that’s hoping to mass market the first sex robot, says its product is the long-sought solution to the plague of sexual harassment. “With all the scandals coming to light, it’s never been more clear that we need something like our sex robot to fill the need of men to have sex with beautiful women without having to go through all the boring preliminaries like taking women out to dinner, buying them flowers, and promising to marry them,” said Daisuki Nakamura, CEO of Kinko Bot®. Nakamura said his company’s line of robots are programmed to accept whatever approach men take to get women into bed, even if that approach would be considered harassment by a non-robot woman. “Inappropriate touching? Lewd remarks? It doesn’t matter,” said Nakamura. “Whatever approach is comfortable to you as the owner of one of our sex bots will be acceptable, because she is programmed not to be judgmental or even have a preference for how she likes to have sex. Frankly, she doesn’t even care if you’re not attractive or don’t make a lot of money.” More.
Citing a “woeful and widespread” lack of training on how to talk to women, researchers participating in a joint Harvard-MIT project say 90 percent of American men would never get laid if they didn’t use harassment as a coercive tactic. “What we’re seeing is an education gap that is having tragic and traumatic consequences for women throughout the United States,” says Jane Halverson, lead researcher on the project. “Most men simply have no understanding of what it takes to initiate an intimate relationship with a woman without resorting to brutish behavior.” The research report, called “Lateral Inequality in Male-Female Intimacy Relations in the United States,” finds pervasive use of coercion and “asymmetric procreative tactics” by men in their interactions with women. “We’ve long suspected men rely on their dominance in size and power, including economic power, to get from women what under ordinary circumstances would be freely given,” says Joseph LaBoudin, professor of sociology at Columbia, who did not participate in the research. More.
Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore says allegations that he had inappropriate relations with teenage girls when he was a 30-year old man are false and that his relationship with them was limited to dressing up as a cowboy and playing make believe. “While it is utterly false that I kissed and inappropriately touched teenage girls when I was in my thirties, I will admit to dressing up as a cowboy and playing make-believe with them,” said Moore, 70, a former chief justice of the state supreme court. It’s not uncommon for Moore to make appearances dressed as a cowboy. In one speech he made during his primary battle with Lester Strange, the incumbent senator he went on to defeat, Moore gave his remarks wearing a cowboy hat, boots, a vest, and carrying a pistol. More.
President Donald Trump said it was a mark of his intelligence that he allowed a reporter—Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff—to have unfettered access to White House staff for a year. “I’m, like, really smart for letting him act as a fly on the wall while my administration settled into the task of governing the country over the past year,” Trump said. The president pointed out that he’s a good read of character and knows who should and who shouldn’t get access to his staff. “No one knows people better than I do,” he said. “To be a billionaire, TV star, and now president, you need to be able to size people up and know who should and who shouldn’t be talking to your top staff day after day with the aim of writing a tell-all book.” More.
President Donald Trump today said he wants to put the partisan bickering behind him and focus on policy goals both sides can agree on, like infrastructure investment. “It’s important for the country that we work together,” he said at a White House breakfast with Republican and Democratic leaders to welcome in the new year. “Americans want us to come together and I plan to do that—with or without the Democrats.” Trump said it would be nice if the Democrats were part of the effort to be bipartisan, but he’s not counting on it. “Frankly, we can do it without them,” he said. “We have shared goals. We want better airports. We want first-class airports, the best airports in the world. We’ll get those whether we have help from the Democrats or not. We’d rather work together.” More.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) probably aren’t going to say anything about it, according to the two congressional leaders’ aides. Max Phillip, McConnell’s chief of staff, said it’s the Majority’ Leader’s intent not to say much about President Trump’s tweet comparing his nuclear button to the nuclear button of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Would he plan to comment on that anytime soon?” Phillip said. “I wouldn’t expect that.” Phillip said there’s always a temptation to say something when the President’s son is accused of treason by a person who was the President’s top aide just a short while ago, but the Majority Leader will probably not address it. “You have to think about what you remark on and what you don’t remark on, and I think the Majority Leader will probably choose not to remark on that,” he said. More.
Pence Not Allowed to Meet Alone With Trump Any More After What His Mouth Was Caught Doing in Last Cabinet Meeting
The staff of Vice President Mike Pence have extended his rule about never meeting alone with women to include Donald Trump out of fear he’ll act inappropriately with the president. ‘This is just a cautionary measure that we decided should be in place after we caught the vice president’s mouth acting inappropriately with the president during the last cabinet meeting,” says Pence’s chief of staff, Nate Avers. The last cabinet meeting was held the day Congress passed its sweeping tax reform bill and Pence was caught on camera using his mouth on Trump in a way that made onlookers blush. “I’m deeply humbled to be your vice president and to be able to be here,” the vice president’s mouth was caught saying. “I want to thank your outstanding team. I want to thank you for seeing through the course of this year an agenda that truly is restoring this country. More.
A mjority of Americans say they have enough time to look at their phones and stuff for five or six hours a day but not for the seven or eight hours a day that they’d like, and driverless cars could solve that problem for them, a poll shows. “I have friends who make comments and stuff on Twitter that I don’t like to miss when I’m making a left turn or a right turn,” says April Barnett, a manicurist in Tucson, Ariz. She says she’d like to have her car do more driving so she can keep up with her friends when she’s behind the wheel. “Like last week, my friend Ashleigh posted a video of her eating cake with her boyfriend at a restaurant and it came to me, like, when I was parking or something. I could have liked it right away but I couldn’t because, you know, the car’s not going to park itself.” More.
After he or someone on his staff liked a porn video on his Twitter account, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said his office had reported the incident to Twitter. “The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter,” said Catherine Frazier, Cruz’s communications aide. What else has his office reported to Twitter? We investigate. More.
Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, under fire by his family-values supporters for liking a porn video on his Facebook page, says the woman in the video is not a woman he imagined having sexual relations with. In a televised address he aired from his home office in Texas, where he’s been since Hurricane Harvey swept through the southeastern part of his state, Cruz said the allegations of him wanting to have sex with that woman are false and that he never asked anyone on his staff to lie about it. “I want to say one thing to the American people,” Cruz said in the address. “I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not imagine having sexual relations with that woman, the blonde woman in the video. I never told anyone to lie, not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people.” More.
Brenda Smalter says she breathes a sigh of relief every day because she managed to avoid the attention of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and the other men at Fox News who were accused of treating women like sex objects. “How despicable is that kind of behavior?” says Smalter, who worked as an assistant producer at the network for seven years before she left for another network. “Other women would walk into meetings or onto the set and one of the guys would look at them or make some comment about their physical appearance or something and I’m just so relieved I avoided all that.” Smalter, 41, said she would wear short skirts or flirty blouses but none of the men ever made comments to her or tried to get her into bed. “I just don’t know why I was so lucky to have avoided all that,” she says. More.
Former Fox news host Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, former chairman of Fox News, were seen last night at a New York City hotel bar trying to pick up chicks but people who watched say the two men were unsuccessful. “Bill O’Reilly was a little drunk, I think,” says Cindy Carlson, a legal secretary who says she saw the two men try to flirt with women for about an hour at the bar, called The Tap Room, located in the New York Park Hotel on 5th Avenue. “I think O’Reilly said something like, ‘What’s your sign?’ and the woman seated next to him looked away. I don’t think she knew who he was.” More.
Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is alleging in a lawsuit that aspiring news reporter Asheigh Carter tried to tempt him into infidelity as she sought a job on his popular cable news channel. “My client is traumatized and humiliated by the experience of having Ashleigh Carter stroke his chin and breathe into his ear during a meeting to discuss her qualifications to be a reporter for the Fox News team,” John Peterson, an attorney for Ailes, said in a statement. According to the statement, Carter, 25, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, sent him pictures of her and promised him “moments he’ll remember” if he would just give her an interview. More.
LONDON—Some of the world’s top women tennis players say their game has struggled as they try to keep their new Nike tennis dress from interfering with their shots, but they also love the way the dress doubles as lingerie for later that night. “Anytime I can pack one dress instead of two while I’m on the road I’m happy,” says Ivana Sveltka, the top-ranked Moldovan player gearing up for the second round at Wimbledon this week. “Being able to play in the dress during the day and then slip it on at night as a comfortable nightie is just wonderful.” The dress, which Nike-sponsored players are required to wear under their sponsorship agreements with the company, breaks the mold in tennis attire by replacing the standard skirt and top design with a single, loose fitting dress that’s notable for its high cut and willowy fabric. More.