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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 11:58 AM
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Stacey Abrams Contains Multitudes

Her obsessions with public policy and pop culture came together in the new Supreme Court thriller “While Justice Sleeps,” the first time she has used her own name on one of her novels.

Stacey Abrams published her first book — “Rules of Engagement,” a romance novel about a brilliant undercover agent and her smoking-hot colleague — while a student at Yale Law School. Eager to keep her worlds separate, she used the nom de plume Selena Montgomery, a homage to the “Bewitched” actress Elizabeth Montgomery.

Abrams went on to write seven more Selena Montgomery books (one of which, “Never Tell,” is in development with CBS), as well as two nonfiction works under her own name, while pursuing her day jobs as a tax lawyer, business owner, state lawmaker, candidate for governor and voting-rights advocate, to name a few. It is hard to imagine that anyone who followed the 2020 election does not know who Stacey Abrams is.

And so for her latest book, “While Justice Sleeps,” a legal thriller about a Supreme Court justice whose descent into a coma plunges the court, and the country, into turmoil, Abrams, 47, has used her own name on a novel for the first time. It is as if the disparate parts of her life — the public-policy part, the nerdy, abstruse-topic part and the popular-culture-consuming part — are finally coalescing.

“Writing is as much a part of who I am as anything,” Abrams said last month in a video interview from her home in Atlanta. “One thing I am grateful to my parents for is that there was never a moment where they said, ‘Don’t do this.’ What they wanted for us was to explore and try. And writing is native to the way I think about the world.”

“While Justice Sleeps,” out on Tuesday from Doubleday, has a sprawling plot whose features include a proposed merger between a U.S. biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, a cruel disease with a potential cure, a conspiracy involving the top echelons of the American government, a corrupt and ruthless president, a Supreme Court poised to decide a case with worldwide ramifications and an intellectual scavenger hunt that begins with the mention of a famous 19th-century chess match.


The US Mint wants you to help choose the pioneering women that will appear on its new quarters

Following coins that put the spotlight on Duke Ellington, the Tuskegee Airmen and Samoan fruit bats, a new run of quarters will call attention to pioneering American women.

It's part of the US Mint's "American Women Quarters Program," which will stamp circulating quarters with the faces of women who have made "significant contributions to the US." (George Washington's face will remain on the quarter's front, albeit with a new design.)

The first two honorees have already been chosen: esteemed poet Maya Angelou and gender-barrier-breaking astronaut Sally Ride.

The rest of the lineup will be decided by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen -- with input from the American public.

The National Women's History Museum is accepting submissions for the program, which was authorized by the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020. Under that measure, all of the women who appear on the coins must be deceased -- Ride died in 2012, while Angelou died in 2014. Otherwise, the criteria are fairly broad.



Caitlyn Jenner: "I didn't even vote." (she went golfing instead):


This week's The New Yorker cover, "Homecoming," by Kadir Nelson.

Spring has arrived, and around a third of Americans have been fully vaccinated. For the first time in a long while, people are tapping into their senses for proximity, touch, intimacy. We recently talked to the artist Kadir Nelson about his portrait of a young couple locked in embrace.

Your characters seem to emerge through a combination of observation and inspiration. Is people-watching a part of your process?

I think that people-watching comes with the job of being an artist. It certainly inspired this painting. I saw a young couple embracing each other downtown, shortly before the start of the pandemic. Such a display of public affection was a common sight then, but it holds much greater significance after more than a year of isolation.

You lived in Brooklyn while you were a student at Pratt. What are your favorite places in the borough?

I’d have to say that Pratt is my favorite place in Brooklyn, but Brooklyn Heights and the waterfront near the Brooklyn Bridge are a close second.


The scene tonight at the @RepMTG and @mattgaetz America First rally in The Villages, Fla.


The 'headache' Trump left behind for Biden on the White House lawn

(CNN)The project that's currently tearing up the White House's South Lawn initially landed on Donald Trump's desk.

The White House was in need of substantial upgrades to its future security apparatus, updates that would include digging deeply and extensively, from the upper main driveway to the lower, across acres of pristine green grass. Times had changed since the last substantial overhaul of systems, and with the country facing new, known and unknown security threats from various entities, it was paramount the updates happen, the United States Secret Service told the White House, according to two people familiar with the plan who spoke to CNN.

Many workers would be involved, with machinery, temporary gates and plenty of inconvenient closures and re-routes likely to occur, perhaps for several weeks, possibly longer. The United States Secret Service, the National Park Service and the White House worked in tandem to formulate a plan for the massive, multimillion dollar overhaul, one that could be done in phases, so as not to disturb the first family in residence, noted the sources.

The final step of implementation was for the Trump White House's chief usher, Timothy Harleth, to explain the plan to the President and first lady, and then signal to the Secret Service and National Park Service the system was a "go."

But the Trumps weren't so inclined. They didn't want the noise and, Melania Trump in particular, wanted to avoid disrupting the aesthetics on the back lawn, where there could perhaps be events. The first couple decided to "pass it to the next guy," said one of the people familiar. That next guy ended up being President Joe Biden.


New York AG James sues Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman over robocalls

Source: The Hill

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday that her office filed a lawsuit against conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman for their alleged participation in orchestrating robocalls that targeted Black communities, urging voters not to cast mail-in ballots.

An investigation conducted by James' office reportedly found that Wohl and Burkman, through their fictitious organization “Project 1599,” violated state and federal laws when sending out robocalls that threatened and harassed Black communities using disinformation.

The robocalls claimed that mail-in voters’ information would be sent to law enforcement, debt collectors and the government. Additionally, the calls claimed that mail-in ballots would be used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track people who have not yet received a vaccine.

“Hi, this is Tamika Taylor from Project 1599, the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burman and Jacob Wohl. Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts?,” the automated calls reportedly said, according to James.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/552243-new-york-ag-james-sues-jacob-wohl-jack-burkman-over-robocalls

NY AG James: @ Eighteen million fake comments, half a million fake letters (net neutrality)


Jill Biden surprises 2021's Teacher of the Year in emotional meeting: "It's so beautiful"

A Nevada special education teacher is having her hard work and dedication celebrated in a big way — after being named 2021 National Teacher of the Year, Juliana Urtubey was personally congratulated by fellow educator and first lady Dr. Jill Biden.

"I'm so excited because, you know, Juliana is our National Teacher of the Year, and I'm so proud today to be an educator," Biden said exclusively on "CBS This Morning." "Look at Juliana — I mean, she is just the epitome of a great teacher, a great educator."

Dr. Biden surprised Urtubey in Nevada Thursday with a bouquet of flowers and a certificate to thank her for her contribution to the country's education.

Urtubey, who has called Dr. Biden her hero in the past, was shocked and emotional when she encountered the first lady.

"I was obviously elated. I mean, it's so amazing. And I'm so grateful for a change of tone of positivity, of focusing on education to get our students what they need. It's so beautiful," she said.


So refreshing...

Club for Growth: Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference.

Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference. She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority.

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