California lawmaker faces claims his hugs were inappropriate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California Democratic state senator known for greeting people with hugs is now facing allegations that his behavior made women he worked with uncomfortable. Sen. Bob Hertzberg’s penchant for hugging is so well known he has nicknames such as “Hugsberg” and “Huggy Bear.” As an Assemblyman, he once handed out pins reading “I was hugged by Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg.” But three women who have or still work in the Legislature told the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday that his hugs crossed into inappropriate territory. Their comments came as the California Legislature deals with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, which already prompted two Assembly Democrats to resign. Hertzberg… Read More

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After London tower fire, group develops risk assessment tool

ATLANTA (AP) — Six months after flames engulfed a London high-rise and sparked concerns about similarly-clad buildings around the world, a U.S.-based fire prevention group has developed a tool aimed at making buildings safer. The National Association of State Fire Marshals’ research foundation says its free risk evaluation tool will be available on its website after Jan. 1. Combustible exterior paneling fueled the flames that enveloped Grenfell Tower on June 14, killing 71 people, authorities said. An Associated Press review found the same panels on several U.S. buildings, and some of the owners were unaware of the potential danger. The fire marshals group says the new Risk Evaluation Matrix can… Read More

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Former country singer sued over her harassment claims

By Kyle Swenson | Washington Post As the impact of the Harvey Weinstein scandal was whipping like a wildfire through various industries over the last couple of months, former country music singer Katie Armiger sat down with Fox News to discuss her own uncomfortable experiences in the music business. Armiger, who now is a 26-year-old full-time student, entered the country music world at age 15, and eventually had a top 10 album on the charts with 2013’s “Fall Into Me.” But the singer said success in country music often means facing Weinstein-esque sexual harassment and assault. “I was at a radio station in Texas and was taking a promo photo… Read More

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PBS suspends production of Smiley show over misconduct

Associated Press LOS ANGELES — PBS said Wednesday it has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley’s talk show after an independent investigation uncovered “multiple, credible allegations” of misconduct by its host. PBS said it had engaged an outside law firm to investigate “troubling allegations” against the host, it said in a statement. “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley,” the statement said. “The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.” A representative for PBS declined to specify the nature of the allegations against Smiley. His… Read More

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Schumer explores options over ‘forged’ harassment claim

By Andrew Taylor | Associated Press WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that he is “pursuing every legal path” against whoever circulated a forged document accusing him of sexual harassment. Several media outlets were shopped a document alleging Schumer wrongdoing and listing allegations by a former Schumer staff aide. Get top headlines in your inbox every afternoon. Get the free PM Report newsletter. The media outlet Axios said it had contacted the former Schumer staffer, who said the charges were untrue and her signature had been forged. Separately, the woman, who requested anonymity to maintain her privacy, reached out to The Associated Press to declare the document a fake… Read More

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Amy Iverson: At least one Las Vegas hotel will soon scan you for weapons without you even knowing it

I have terror on the brain again after this week’s subway explosion in New York. An ISIS-inspired man strapped a pipe bomb to himself, and it went off during rush hour. Luckily, no one died, but one of the first tweets I saw responding to Monday’s attack belittled it, noting 58 people died in October’s attack in Las Vegas. Activist and writer Shaun King denounced Republicans for doing nothing after the Las Vegas mass shooting. Whether his tweet is factual, one thing is for sure: The many hotels in Las Vegas sure did something after October’s attack. Bloomberg reported that guests at the Wynn resort faced scanning by metal-detector wands,… Read More

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Pentagon Papers whistle-blower outlines doomsday scenario: “If (Trump) wants a nuclear attack to take place, it will take place”

Years before he leaked the Pentagon Papers, gaining the sobriquet “The most dangerous man in America,” Daniel Ellsberg was a consultant to the Department of Defense and various presidential administrations. What he learned scared him half to death. And still does, he said in an appearance at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Tuesday night. “We hear about the two-man rule, that nothing can be done respecting nuclear weapons by one individual,” said Ellsberg, 86. The Kensington resident recently wrote a book, “The Doomsday Machine,” that deals with unsettling conversations like the one we’re having right now. “It always has to be at least two people opening an envelope, turning a… Read More

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California may steal Florida’s orange-growing crown

By Marvin G. Perez | Bloomberg News It’s been a miserable few years for Florida’s orange crop. And now to add insult to injury, California is gearing up to steal the sunshine’s state crown as the king of U.S. citrus production. After a decade of the citrus-greening disease devastating Florida oranges, Hurricane Irma smashed into groves this year, inflicting yet another blow to the crop. Farmers in the state are set to collect 46 million boxes of the fruit this season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday. That would be the smallest since 1945 and would match California’s harvest. A box weighs 90 pounds for Florida, and California changed… Read More

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Gillibrand got a fight she wants after Trump’s fiery tweet

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand got a fight she wants after President Donald Trump lashed out at the New York Democrat in a provocative tweet that claimed she’d begged him for campaign contributions and would “do anything” for them. Gillibrand, who’s up for re-election next year and is considered a possible presidential contender in 2020, has been an outspoken voice in the national debate over how to confront sexual assault and harassment. She’s argued that the rules in institutions from Congress to Hollywood to the U.S. military are set to benefit the powerful and the favored at the expense of the vulnerable. Gillibrand and a chorus of Democrats declared Trump’s… Read More

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Justice official defends Mueller, sees no cause for firing

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, facing congressional questions about anti-Donald Trump text messages exchanged between two FBI officials assigned to the Russia probe, defended special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday and said he had seen no cause to fire him or received encouragement to do so. Rosenstein appeared before the House Judiciary Committee one day after the Justice Department provided congressional committees with hundreds of text messages between an FBI counterintelligence agent assigned to Mueller’s team and an FBI lawyer who was on the same detail. Those messages, which occurred before Mueller was appointed in May to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, show the… Read More

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