Living as a Man, Fighting Breast Cancer: How Trans People Face Care Gaps – New York Times

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A diagnosis of breast cancer at age 27 is shattering for anyone. But for Eli Oberman, it came with extra layers of anxiety. He is a transgender man, who was born female but began taking male hormones when he was 19 to change gender.

Like many transgender people, Mr. Oberman switched gender without having surgery to change his body. The cancer was a stark reminder that he was still vulnerable to illnesses from his original anatomy — and that the medical world has blind spots in its understanding of how to take care of trans men and women.

“I just felt overwhelmed on all levels,” Mr. Oberman said. “Overwhelmed about facing the diagnosis, overwhelmed about the irony of it being this part of my body that was already so fraught for me.”

About 1.4 million adults in the United States report they are transgender, according to a recent analysis of federal and state data. That figure is twice the previous estimate, and as awareness has increased, the health care system has begun scrambling to meet their needs.

The government lifted a ban on Medicare coverage for transgender surgery and hormone treatment in 2014, and in 2015 New York State ended a similar ban for Medicaid patients. This year, a rule under the Affordable Care Act banning discrimination in health care specifically included protection for transgender people.

Hospitals and professional schools have begun training employees and students on transgender medicine, and on basic etiquette like addressing trans men and women by the name and pronoun they prefer. At the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, which recently opened a Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, about 8,000 employees had such training last year.

“When I think back to the earlier days and think where we are now, it’s unbelievably better,” said Barbara E. Warren, a psychologist and the director for L.G.B.T. programs and policies at Mount Sinai.

But there are still struggles. Dr. Warren and other experts said it was common for transgender people to avoid screenings and other medical care for parts of their bodies associated with their original gender. If problems do arise, they may find themselves in situations like Mr. Oberman, who suddenly became the lone male patient in waiting rooms full of women, and a target for curiosity or scorn from some health workers.

Mr. Oberman, now 33, was treated for the cancer six years ago, but decided just recently to speak about it publicly in hopes of helping to improve care for others.

He has big, dark eyes, thinning hair, a warm smile and a leafy tattoo wreathing one arm — the kudzu vine, he said, because it is “so unstoppably alive.” He lives in Brooklyn, has a degree in poetry and education, and plays violin in a rock band called the Shondes (“Disgraces,” in Yiddish). His day jobs have included managing a database for a nonprofit organization.

Video by The Shondes

He began taking testosterone when he was 19 for its masculinizing effects — these include increased facial and body hair, a lower voice, more muscle and, usually, an end to periods. But he never had surgery to change his body. Many trans people do not, and so many trans men still have ovaries and vaginas, and trans women, prostate glands and penises.

Early in his transition, Mr. Oberman wanted “top surgery”— breast removal — but could not afford it, so he wore binders to flatten his chest. Gradually, he became more comfortable with his body and lost interest in the surgery.

He first noticed a breast lump in 2010. It was not easy to feel, and cancer at his age just didn’t seem possible.

He let six or eight months go by before having scans and a biopsy. Those tests required leaving the safety of his usual clinic, which specialized in L.G.B.T. patients, and plunging into the world of mainstream medicine, where he said doctors treated him with respect, but other workers did not.

“I had some horrible experiences,” he said.

During one procedure, when Mr. Oberman had his shirt off, a male technician, seeing that he was transgender, exclaimed: “Why would you do this to yourself? It’s disgusting.”

Mr. Oberman never reported the episodes.

“I’m not proud to say I didn’t complain,” he said, adding that he wished he had done so for the sake of other patients.

But he was facing a life-threatening disease. The cancer was aggressive. He would need both breasts removed, and then chemotherapy.

“I felt guilty, able to get free surgery I didn’t want because I had cancer, and so many others want it and can’t get it,” he said.

He soon learned that mastectomies, which remove as much breast tissue as possible, differ from top surgery, which preserves enough to give the chest a male-looking contour. Because he had cancer, top surgery was not a safe option: It would leave too much breast tissue, and too much risk of recurrence. Friends who have had top surgery were stunned to find out they still had a risk of breast cancer because of the tissue left behind, he said.

Before surgery, thinking that testosterone might interfere with healing, Mr. Oberman’s doctors advised him to stop taking it for a month.

He followed their advice, but soon, he said, “I went insane. I wasn’t rational. I was lying on the floor, crying.”

Back on the hormone, he became himself again.

Chemotherapy gave him a “definitionless moonface,” he said, and it coarsened his features and thinned his hair permanently. It had taken him years to feel comfortable in his trans identity, and now, he said, “It felt like starting all over again.”

He would have liked to join a breast-cancer support group, but feared he would not be accepted.

His reluctance to deal with the health care system has lingered. Just last year, at 32, he finally had his first Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer. It was about 10 years overdue, according to current guidelines. Doctors had nagged him to be tested, and one even threatened to withhold his testosterone unless he complied.

He kept putting it off because he feared being treated badly in a gynecologist’s office. Trans friends who had called for appointments were challenged by receptionists who assumed that a deep voice meant they did not belong.

Trans men often avoid gynecologists, said Dr. Asa Radix, Mr. Oberman’s physician and the senior director of research and education at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York, which provides health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“Imagine, if you’re a masculine looking trans man, and you’re going to the gynecologist,” Dr. Radix said. “You go to the front desk, and you have to out yourself. Everyone can hear what’s going on. You just want to run out the door.”

In addition, some trans people are conflicted about their bodies, “and may not want to think they have the anatomy they have,” Dr. Radix said. He added that pelvic exams can be physically uncomfortable for a transgender man because testosterone can dry out vaginal tissue. It can also change the cervix in ways that make a Pap test hard to read, necessitating a second round.

Mr. Oberman said that in “moments of dark paranoia,” he wondered if taking testosterone might have caused his cancer — or if it was unrelated and the tumor might have developed anyway. His mother and her mother had both had breast cancer — though well after menopause.

There is no evidence that trans men or women who take hormones have increased risks of any type of cancer, Dr. Radix said. Studies in Europe have found no increased risk, but it is not clear that the results apply to the United States, where the population is less homogeneous and many transgender people obtain hormones via the internet or other sources outside the health care system.

Zil Goldstein, a nurse practitioner and program director at Mount Sinai’s transgender center, said that while she had concerns about the long-term safety of transgender hormones, she worried more about the possible harm from not prescribing them — researchers report that 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide.

The hormone question concerns Mr. Oberman’s oncologist, Dr. Paula Klein, who specializes in breast cancer at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (not the same hospital where he had his biopsies and surgery). She said trans men with breast cancer were often urged to stop taking testosterone. One reason is that the body converts some testosterone to estrogen, which can speed the growth of many breast tumors. And some breast cancers may also be stimulated by testosterone, she said.

But there is no solid data to guide trans patients, and Mr. Oberman does not want to stop taking the hormone.

Dr. Klein was an author of a journal article in 2011 about two other trans men with breast cancer. Both took testosterone and, like Mr. Oberman, chose to stay on it. Few other cases have been reported.

Dr. Klein has been suggesting that Mr. Oberman have his ovaries removed. Part of her reasoning was that he had stopped taking tamoxifen, a drug commonly prescribed to prevent breast cancer recurrence. Taking out the ovaries would mean lower estrogen levels, which would help prevent a recurrence of breast cancer.

“You would definitely benefit,” she said during an office visit in September.

“It’s a slam dunk for someone like you, taking away all your female parts,” Dr. Klein said, adding, “We thought you’d eat that up. A transgender gift.”

“Except I don’t want it,” Mr. Oberman said. He did not want more surgery or the hormonal jolt that removing his ovaries would bring. He thought the mastectomies and chemotherapy had very likely cured him.

Dr. Klein backed off, saying, “Look, the odds are that you’re going to be fine.”

He hugged her on the way out. It seemed likely that they would have this conversation again.

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Woman killed by drunk driver when helping daughter who ran out of gas on Hwy 59 – KHOU.com

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HOUSTON- A woman was hit and killed while helping her step-daughter and grandchildren whose car had stalled in southwest Houston Saturday evening. 

According to the Houston Police Department, the 62-year-old woman was fatally hit by a drunk driver, identified as 45-year-old Stephen Alan Cook.

The woman’s step-daughter and grandchildren had apparently run out of gas on US 59 and had called the woman for help.

Police said the victim’s step-daughter, was driving a Nissan on the Southwest Freeway with her two children when they ran out of gas and moved into the emergency lane. 

Around 8 p.m., while the women were putting gas in the vehicle, Cook clipped the front end of the woman’s van with his Mercury Grand Marqe and slammed into the back end of the Nissan.

HPD said this pushed the van into the Nissan, placing the step-mom in between the two cars.

The step-daughter and her 15-year-old daughter were both struck, but her 9-year-old son managed to jump out of the way. 

The entire family was transported to the hospital, where the 62-year-old woman died. 

The woman’s daughter is in serious condition, but is expected to survive. The 15-year-old had minor injuries and the 9-year-old was not injured. 

Cook was treated for minor injuries and arrested. He faces intoxication manslaughter charges and two counts of intoxication assault. 

(© 2016 KHOU)

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Donald Trump Won’t Stop Attacking Paul Ryan – Huffington Post

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continued his feud with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday, after Ryan distanced himself from Trump in response to the bombshell recording of Trump boasting about sexual assault.

In a series of tweets, Trump called Ryan “a man who doesn’t know how to win,” referring to his loss in 2012, when he was the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, and said that the House speaker “does zilch” to help him defeat Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Trump has regularly launched attacks against Ryan since The Washington Post published a 2005 video of the nominee bragging about sexual assault. Subsequently, multiple women have come forward alleging Trump sexually assaulted or harassed them.

In response to the video, Ryan disinvited Trump from a scheduled joint appearance in Wisconsin on Oct. 8. On Monday, he announced that he would no longer defend Trump, after repeatedly condemning his offensive remarks while nonetheless standing by him as the nominee. Ryan told fellow Republicans that he wants to instead focus on maintaining GOP control of the House, fearing the presidential nominee’s effect on competitive House seats.

Trump fired back, calling Ryan “very weak and ineffective” and insisting that he didn’t “care about his support.”

Ryan has largely been silent on Trump since distancing himself.

Trump is scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin on Monday. Ryan will not attend that event; instead, he is scheduled to speak at a GOP fundraiser in Texas.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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‘Real Estate Investors Should Be Treated Like Any Other Businessmen’ – FAIR

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Janine Jackson interviewed Richard Phillips about Donald Trump’s taxes for the October 7, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Richard Phillips (image: Al Jazeera)

Richard Phillips: “The problem is that lots of people have figured out ways to make their income a little more complicated.” (image: Al Jazeera)

MP3 Link

Janine Jackson: In case you somehow managed to miss it, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledged in the most recent debate that, for at least some period of time, he paid no federal income tax, explaining, characteristically, “That makes me smart.”

The statement revealed nothing we didn’t know about Trump, but it did raise a few questions for some folks about taxes—who pays what and why. Richard Phillips is senior policy analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. He joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Richard Phillips.

Richard Phillips: Thanks for having me on.

NYT: Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found

New York Times analysis (10/1/16) of Donald Trump’s tax return

JJ: Well, the New York Times did some looking at what tax return information they could get about Trump, and a lot of eyes are on the fact that in 1995, he claimed more than $900 million in losses. And this, we’re to understand, could be claimed against earnings in future years, such that it’s possible his taxes could have been zero for maybe 18 years. Now, no doubt there’s much more to it than that, but as a point of information, this whole idea, this basic idea, of deducting your losses from your future income—not everybody is allowed to do that.

RP: That’s definitely true. And the most common example, for middle-income families, if your house loses value, as a lot of houses did in the 2008 financial crisis, then you don’t get to subtract out the loss of that to your income in a given year, but Donald Trump got to subtract out the losses of his real estate assets going downhill.

JJ: Now, the reason for that phenomenon—some would call it a loophole—but there’s a reason for it, and I understand that that’s because the idea was that it would spur investment, or that it would spur job creation. But has that been borne out?

RP: So the whole idea of net operating losses, which is what he experienced, doing this for business makes a lot of sense, because if a business in one year makes $100 and the next year it loses $200, it seems a little strange to hit them with more taxes when they’re not actually making money.

JJ: Uh-huh.

RP: So we don’t have a huge problem with net operating losses, to some extent, but I think there’s two unique ways that Donald Trump—we know, because he’s in the real estate industry—is taking advantage of this. One way is that he gets to use a lot of his business losses to cover his own personal income losses. So it’s not that, oh, well, within his business itself, he can subtract out the losses from other income in his business, but he can actually use that to wipe out his earnings from, say, the money they paid him to be on The Apprentice. And that’s something that not all businesses and not all people can do.

And then the second unique thing about the real estate industry is that in many cases—and for Donald Trump, we know this is true—that they actually get to take losses based on loans that they are not actually invested in. So in many cases, Donald Trump wasn’t putting up all the money to build the building, he was actually taking out very large loans. And so he gets to take the losses on those investments, even though he wasn’t necessarily making the full investment.

JJ: And the rules that allow for that, I think some people may believe, well, yes, they happen to benefit individuals like Donald Trump, but they’re in place because they also benefit the economy as a whole. And I guess my question is, does that seem to be the case?

RP: We don’t think that these kinds of rules for real estate investors are uniquely helpful to the economy. We think that real estate investors should be treated like any other businessmen, you know, just be required to pay the taxes they owe, not get these kinds of special tax breaks. So, no, I don’t see any reason for us to be disproportionately benefiting the real estate industry. In fact, I think the real estate industry is profitable enough on its own that it doesn’t need special tax breaks to enhance it.

JJ: Well, recognition that the tax code can favor the wealthy, and can favor businesses and particularly real estate, has kind of morphed in the public conversation into, the tax code is too complicated. In which light, I was really intrigued by a comment from CTJ’s Bob McIntyre, who said, “The complexity comes from trying to stop people who have found ways around the simplicity.” What is he getting at there?

RP: I think people have this sense that it’s really easy to figure out what income is—we should just have your income and then multiply it by a rate and that’s all that you have to do. But the problem is that lots of people have figured out ways to make their income a little more complicated.

And just using the Donald Trump example, it’s actually a little hard to figure out, year to year, exactly how much Donald Trump is making or losing and, thus, what his income is. And so what people like Donald Trump or other wealthy people do is, they figure out ways to make what could be income look like losses. Or, because the tax code in some cases treats different types of income differently, to shift all of your income to be the less-taxed version. The issue is, it’s inherently hard to get at what income is. And, thus, it can’t be as simple as people want it to be, because the accountants always try to figure out ways to get around them.

Ivanka Trump in the documentary Born Rich

Ivanka Trump in the documentary Born Rich

JJ: Yeah, I’ll never forget, no matter how hard I try, a scene in the movie Born Rich, in which Ivanka Trump is describing her father pointing to a homeless man and saying, “That guy has eight billion more dollars than me.” You know, because Trump was in debt at the time.

And I feel like you can explain about how certain things are on paper and they’re not real, but those stories hold a lot of meaning for people. You know, tax code, whatever—this guy was in a hole deeper than a homeless guy, and he made it all back! I think it’s kind of hard sometimes to translate this information.

RP: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of our hardest tasks in explaining the tax code, and also one of the reasons why the tax code has become so rigged, is because it’s become this place for different accountants or tax lawyers to argue. And at that point, it’s hard for the American people to kind of engage and figure out, well, what is the loophole and what is the legitimate deduction?

JJ: The corporate tax rate has come up in debates, and we’ve heard “offshoring,” it’s presented by Republicans in the main as being the result of the fact that corporate taxes in the United States are too high. I feel like I’ve been hearing that for a very long time. It seems like something you ought to be able to say, well, here’s the answer to that, relatively. I mean, how much credence do we give this line about corporate taxes being too high, and about that being the reason for offshoring?

RP: I think the No. 1 talking point from corporations is that the corporate tax rate is too high, but what they tend to focus on is the statutory tax rate, which is 35 percent, rather than the effective tax rate that companies are actually paying. And the reality is that that rate is a lot lower than 35 percent. In fact, a study by Citizens for Tax Justice found that it was around 19 percent for major profitable companies. So we push that out there and say that, yes, the rate is lower; but it doesn’t stop the corporations from claiming, over and over again, that they’re actually paying 35, or that the 35 rate is the rate that everyone should be paying attention to.

JJ: And I guess if you asked those corporations about paying that lesser rate, they would say that makes them smart. I mean, after all, that is what they have tax lawyers to help with.

Well, a lot of the problem, it seems like, that you’re laying out has to do not so much with the information not existing, but with a certain kind of opacity, with the inability to get at that information, or to use it in an accessible way. So what is this Financial Accounting Standards Board, and how hopeful should we be about that?

The Cayman Islands (cc photo: Lyn Gateley)

The Cayman Islands (cc photo: Lyn Gateley)

RP: So the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and also the Securities & Exchange Commission, have both been kind of reviewing their standards on what companies are required to disclose, in terms of how much they’re paying in taxes, and how much income they’re earning in every country. And so we recently put out a report called Offshore Shell Games, where we took a look at how much companies were holding offshore. And although we could get some pretty good estimates, in terms of showing that Fortune 500 companies have about $2.5 trillion offshore, we were only, in many cases, able to estimate how much they actually owe in taxes on those things. And, actually, we have no sense of where and how much money a given company has in, say, the Cayman Islands versus Germany.

And so what we’ve been trying to push the Financial Accounting Standards Board to do, and the Securities & Exchange Commission to do, is require companies to list out the information on a country-by-country basis, things like income, their tax, how much revenue, and that way the public and investors would just have a better sense of what’s really going on.

JJ: And I guess we would also know what could be invested in the US economy. In other words, kind of what the mass amount is that’s missing that could be put to work doing lots of other things.

RP: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is a tremendous amount of money they have offshore. Our estimate, based on the numbers we do have, is that companies, on that offshore stash, owe about $718 billion, and that’s a lot of money that could go to building roads, go to investing in childcare and healthcare, and go to all the different priorities that we have.

JJ: We’ve been speaking with Richard Phillips of Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. You can find their work online at CTJ.org. Richard Phillips, thank you very much for joining us this week on CounterSpin.

RP: All right, great. Thanks for having me.

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Perrie Edwards Confirms Zayn Malik Dumped… – Hollywood Life

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Joe Jonas Discusses DNCE’s Sensual ‘Body Moves’ Video on Tidal … – Billboard

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DNCE attend TIDAL X: 1015 at Barclays Center on Oct. 15, 2016 in New York City.  

DNCE also talk upcoming debut album and their bubbly personas on the black carpet at TIDAL X 1015.

DNCE are fresh off the release of “Body Moves,” the lead single from their upcoming self-titled full-length debut, out Nov. 18. While walking the black carpet Saturday evening (Oct. 15) for the Tidal X 1015 benefit concert, the bubbly pop band told Billboard they have no plans of slowing down once the album’s out. 

“What we love the most is just doing stuff,” Cole Whittle said. “So as soon as it’s out all we’re going to be thinking about is the next album and the next album after that.” Joe Jonas added, “From the core of us, we do this because we love it. [We] do this because we can’t help but do it.”

The music released from the quartet so far all shares one similarity in that the songs are undeniably upbeat, infectious pop tunes.

“We’re annoyingly positive and hyper and fun,” Whittle says of the bands enduring positivity. “It’s kind of just our personality.” He adds that as a result of all the negativity occurring in the world right now, “You see a lot of people taking themselves so seriously and stopping the energy from exploding all the time, and we make it a point to wipe the slate clean and be explosive and just be ourselves, and I think you always get rewarded by the universe for that.” 

Jonas said their most notable reward so far was winning Best New Artist at the MTV VMA’s. 

Later in the evening, DNCE took to the stage to perform a medley of Prince’s “Kiss” and their first hit “Cake by the Ocean.” They also included “Body Moves” in their set, though unlike the video Jonas remained fully clothed. When asked how his teenage self would have reacted to the track’s promiscuous music video, he said, “He’d say, ‘Lucky you.’ I think more so he’d be like, ‘Damn, could we speed up this process so I can be in that video.’ Took too damn long.”

It seems that this time around, though, with his new band members by his side and success well within reach, there will be no time to waste.

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Twenty One Pilots song gets performed in 21 different styles – KTAR.com

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Have you ever wanted to see Hank Williams, the Eagles, Korn and David Bowie perform the exact same song together?

Well that is pretty unlikely to ever happen, but one musical artist gave us all a taste of what it could be like.

Ten Second Songs tries out different songs by performing like the signature artists that we are all familiar with. His latest experiment is “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots.

In this version of the song, you can see it done in 21 styles, ranging from a Mozart segment all the way to a Nirvana version. “Heathens” will never be listened to the same way again.

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Lukas Graham frontman Lukas Forchhammer and girlfriend … – Daily Mail

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Ross Mcdonagh For Dailymail.com

Mama Said is the song that introduced his band to the world.

And Lukas Forchhammer officially made his girlfriend a mama this week.

The Lukas Graham frontman has welcomed a new baby daughter, ET confirmed on Saturday.

New mama! Lukas Graham frontman Lukas Forchhammer and his girlfriend have welcomed new baby daughter

New mama! Lukas Graham frontman Lukas Forchhammer and his girlfriend have welcomed new baby daughter

The Danish singer’s longtime girlfriend Marie-Louise ‘Rillo’ Schwartz Petersen confirmed the great news on her Instagram account.

She posted an adorable snap of the just the soles new tots tony little feet sticking out from a swaddled blanket.

‘Good morning,’ she captioned the super-cute pic.

The 28-year-old 7 Years singer has yet to reveal the name they have chosen for their firstborn, if they even have one yet. 

Little piggies: The Danish singer's longtime girlfriend Marie-Louise 'Rillo' Schwartz Petersen confirmed the great news on her Instagram account with a sweet snap of the baby's feet

Little piggies: The Danish singer’s longtime girlfriend Marie-Louise ‘Rillo’ Schwartz Petersen confirmed the great news on her Instagram account with a sweet snap of the baby’s feet

Fit mom: Last month she shared an image of herself meditating in a garden in just a tiny bikini, without an ounce of baby fat anywhere besides her 39-week pregnant belly

Fit mom: Last month she shared an image of herself meditating in a garden in just a tiny bikini, without an ounce of baby fat anywhere besides her 39-week pregnant belly

Marie-Louis appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the run up to motherhood, posting plenty of snaps.

Back in June, she confirmed the sex of her child with a pink-themed baby shower.

Last month she shared an image of herself meditating in a garden in just a tiny bikini, without an ounce of baby fat anywhere besides her 39-week pregnant belly.

Her final pregnant snap was of her beloved Lukas tying her lace for her, just one of the simple tasks turned impossible for a mother-to-be.

In May, lukas shared his secret to a happy relationship with the DailyMail.com: ‘Shared joy and positive experiences – that’s true for friendship as well as love.’

Helping hand: Her final pregnant snap was of her beloved Lukas tying her lace for her, just one of the simple tasks turned impossible for a mother-to-be

Helping hand: Her final pregnant snap was of her beloved Lukas tying her lace for her, just one of the simple tasks turned impossible for a mother-to-be

Rising stars: The Danish band recently shot to wordwide fame with their singles Mama Said and 7 Years

Rising stars: The Danish band recently shot to wordwide fame with their singles Mama Said and 7 Years

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Rand Paul Found His Voice: Can He Find Noninterventionist Voters? – The National Interest Online

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Rand Paul found his voice last night. He’s a sincere noninterventionist in foreign policy. If he can get that message across, there’s a Republican constituency for it, and even broader support among independents.

Coincidentally or not, Paul’s standing in the polls has fallen as he seemed to move away from the noninterventionist positions associated with his father, congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. He called for a declaration of war with ISIS, more military spending, and rejection of President Obama’s Iran deal.

Meanwhile, hawkish conservative pundits consistently underestimate the extent of non interventionist and war-weary sentiment in the Republican party.

In the debate Paul came out swinging on the risks of war and the failures of military intervention. He declared, “I’ve made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War. I was opposed to the Syria war. I was opposed to arming people who are our enemies.”

He noted that “intervention sometimes makes us less safe…. sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We’re still paying the repercussions of a bad decision.”

He chided Carly Fiorina for her incredible promise not to talk to Vladimir Putin “at all,” saying that we need to talk to all the countries with which we have tensions, we “need to leave lines of communication open,” as Ronald Reagan talked to Soviet leaders.

Standing in front of Reagan’s Air Force One, he embraced Reaganism:

“I’m a Reagan Conservative. I’m someone who believes in peace through strength, and I would try to lead the country in that way knowing that our goal is peace, and that war is the last resort, not the first resort. And, that when we go to war, we go to war in a constitutional way, which means that we have to vote on it, that war is initiated by congress, not by the president.”

And most particularly in electoral terms, he set up the alternatives for voters:

“If you want boots on the ground, and you want them to be our sons and daughters, you got 14 other choices. There will always be a Bush or Clinton for you, if you want to go back to war in Iraq.”

That’s Paul’s best path to the top of the polls. All the other candidates supported the Iraq war (except Donald Trump) and threaten more military action today.

Carly Fiorina delivered a strong performance, but substantively it was frightening. While refusing to talk to the president of Russia, she would send more troops to the countries bordering Russia and “conduct regular, aggressive military exercises.” Threatening a renewed war in Iraq isn’t enough, she wants to take us back to the dangerous heights of the Cold War.

Marco Rubio is viewed as a knowledgeable foreign policy expert by neoconservative pundits, but his framework begins with “These are extraordinarily dangerous times that we live in.” That suggests a stunning ignorance of history. In the past century we dealt with Hitler, Stalin, the Cold War, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, the long Vietnam war. Today our military is bigger than the next 10 militaries combined, and no power threatens us.

Bill Kristol told the Washington Post last year that Paul is “a lonely gadfly” on foreign policy: “Rand Paul speaks for a genuine sentiment that’s always been in the Republican Party, but maybe it’s 10 percent? 15 percent? 20 percent? I don’t think he’s going to be a serious competitor for guiding Republican foreign policy.”

Sixty-three percent of Republicans and 79 percent of independents told a CBS-New York Times poll in 2014 that the Iraq war had not been worth the costs.

As neoconservatives and Republican senators beat the drums for military action in Syria, Republicans turned sharply against the idea — 70 percent against in September 2013.

And of course a massive Pew Research Center survey in December 2013 found that 52 percent of respondents said the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” That was the most lopsided balance in favor of the U.S. “minding its own business” in the nearly 50-year history of the measure.

Kristol and his fellow pundits should read these polls. There’s more scope for a non interventionist or realist Republican candidate than they want to admit.

So far, of course, Paul isn’t reaching even the 10 to 20 percent of Republican voters that even Kristol concedes. But there’s a constituency there, and he may have started to reach it last night in a debate with “NFL-level ratings.”

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Conor McGregor says Floyd Mayweather is ‘afraid of fighting’ – FOXSports.com

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Retired boxer Floyd Mayweather said last month that he was moving on from a potential megafight against UFC champion Conor McGregor – a bout that would surely generate obscene amounts of money – claiming that he tried to make the fight happen but that the two sides couldn’t agree.

McGregor, meanwhile, has maintained that he’s willing to fight – or box – Mayweather under any set of rules, so long as Mayweather brings him a massive payday. The Mayweather-McGregor fight seems like it’ll never happen, but reporters keep asking both fighters about a potential meeting, and they keep talking.

101616 floyd mayweather

In a Q&A session with LAD Bible, McGregor warned Mayweather to stop “dropping his name” or he’ll show up at Mayweather’s front door.

Via MMA Mania:

“Floyd is afraid of fighting. Floyd doesn’t want to fight. Floyd wants a boxing match. And I’ve already said ‘No problem. Get my [expletive] money!’ and when he gets my money then we can box in this boxing match under these set of specific rules that will keep you alive. So, I’m here.

Where’s my money? Because if you keep dropping my name and you haven’t got my money then I am going to show up at your front door. So we will see. But Floyd does not want to fight me. Floyd wants a match under a specific set of rules. I don’t need rules. So I’m open. Let’s see what happens. Right now it is just talk.”

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