Roger Stone, Ariana Grande, Trout Lake, Richard Renaldi, Trump Hotel, Erika Jayne: HOT LINKS

Sean SpicerSPICER. Trump will take four to five executive actions on first day: “He’s got a few of them probably in the area of four or five that we’re looking at for Friday,” some of them logistical, Spicer said Wednesday at a news briefing. “Then there are some other ones that I expect him to sign with respect to a couple of issues that have been high on his priority list.”

MILITARY. Donald Trump plans to use military as a political prop: “That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”

Betsy Devos GrizzlyCABINET DINNERS FOR CASH. Big Trump donors can dine with Cabinet appointees: “The cost of admission for the Cabinet dinner is included in a package for either $100,000 or $250,000 to the presidential inaugural committee, while dinner with Vice President-elect Mike Pence is open to donors and corporate underwriters at the $500,000 and $1 million-level as part of multi-day itineraries, with the level of access determined by the amount of cash given, according to inauguration brochures obtained by POLITICO.”

STIFLED. Trump International Hotel in Washington bans press during inauguration week: “Media is not allowed in this week in respect of the privacy of our guests,” Patricia Tang, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing wrote in an email. A POLITICO reporter attempted to enter the hotel Wednesday morning for a previously scheduled breakfast meeting but was stopped at the door. He then identified himself as a journalist and was told “media” was not allowed.

ARIANA GRANDE. Self-appointed hardest working 23-year-old on Earth.

Kellyanne Conway Meryl StreepKELLYANNE CONWAY. Dems are trying to “humiliate” Trump’s cabinet picks: “This idea of humiliating and trying to embarrass qualified men and women who just wish to serve this nation is reprehensible.”

TOM PRICE. Nearly 400 health care experts urge Congress to reject HHS nominee: “As researchers and faculty members who study public health, health care, and the health care system, we strongly encourage you to reject Tom Price’s nomination.”

TEASE. Guess who’s like to play James Bond?

NYC. DOJ sues New York City for denying police job to man with HIV: “Parker received a conditional offer of employment but received a notice of medical disqualification in December 2013 after undergoing medical exams and completing paperwork that disclosed he had the human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV. The notice cited the AIDS-causing virus, the lawsuit said.”

I WAS POISONED. Trump confidant and conspiracy theorist Roger Stone alleges he has been poisoned with polonium: “While he didn’t say who poisoned him, he did suggest that it was part of a larger plot to sabotage Trump’s presidency, possibly tied to Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Dan Senor.”

noaaHOTTEST ON RECORD. 2016 is third year in a row the record is broken: “Average surface temperatures in 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, were 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 2015, and featured eight successive months (January through August) that were individually the warmest since the agency’s record began in 1880.”

ELLEN DEGENERES. The original La La Land leading lady.

SIGNORILE. Chelsea Manning and the brutality of transphobia in America: “Yet it appears that if someone is a transgender soldier, as opposed to a cisgender general, the crime there’s no punishment too extreme. While we’ve seen little outrage of Obama’s complete pardon on the same day of retired Marine general James E. Cartwright — who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an investigation of a leak of classified information — the anger at  Manning on the right has exposed the brutality and transphobia among so many in conservatives.”

LEO SWEETWOOD. The gay adult performer does a Trump makeup tutorial.

MANHATTAN SUNDAY. Richard Renaldi has been capturing the gay afterhours crowd of NYC: “Since the summer of 2010, Renaldi has hung out near the smoking areas, queues and exits of clubs like Pacha, Santos Party House, Stage 48 and Roseland. Using an 8×10-inch large format camera, he takes soft, still, very intimate monochrome portraits of gay men and women as they start their journey home through New York. He wanted, he says, “to capture the way the city feels just before sunrise, when you’ve been awake and stayed out all night”.

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XXPEN$IVE. Erika Jayne is back with a new track.

TROUT LAKE. This massive lake in a Vancouver park has frozen for the first time in 20 years and people are ice skating:

HUMP DAY HOTTIES. The Penn State football team.

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Former President George H.W. Bush in ICU; Barbara Bush Also Hospitalized

George HW Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush has been admitted to an intensive care unit and former First Lady Barbara Bush hospitalized, according to ABC News:

The former president, 92, has been admitted to the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital to “address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia,” his office said in a statement.

“Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation,” the statement read. “President Bush is stable and resting comfortably in the ICU, where he will remain for observation.”

As a precaution, former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, was also admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital this morning for fatigue and coughing, the statement said.

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The former president’s hospitalization was reported earlier this morning:

Above, the couple at a rodeo last march.

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Unlocking Key West: The Must-See Spots for 5 Kinds of Gay Travelers

key west gay travel spots

These days, it feels like we all need a little getaway. Sure, you could use your precious PTO to jetset to a foreign city or embark on an international adventure, but there’s one destination all LGBT travelers should consider before stressing out about renewing their passports.

Whether you’re looking to treat your tastebuds or immerse yourself in a little extra queer culture, consider setting up your travel alerts for Key West, Florida. With the motto “One Human Family,” Key West is a haven for queer travelers of all types, no matter what sort of vacation you’re after.

If you’re thinking of booking a trip to The Conch Republic, here are a few suggestions to start your planning based on whatever you’re looking for.

Local Pride Seekers
Like Fire Island and Provincetown, Key West is a popular enclave for the LGBT community. Gay male travelers shouldn’t pass up a stay at Island House, an all-male, clothing-optional resort that boasts a daily happy hour featuring free top-shelf liquor for guests. You could find pools and hot tubs at any guesthouse, but Island House also has TVs with free adult films and a video room to boot. Don’t go expecting sleaze, though. Glowing reviews praise the laid-back vibe, cleanliness and 24/7 food service. Make sure you leave room in your itinerary for La Te Da’s weekly tea dance, Sundays at 4 p.m. Visitors can mix and mingle with out-of-towners and locals alike at this poolside party. For something a bit more educational, dive into Key West’s long, gay history at the free Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit. This collection of memorabilia celebrates the playwright’s life and work.

Foodies
Although Key West might not be regarded as a culinary capital in the same way one might label New York or San Francisco, the unique cuisine is a reflection of the Caribbean culture. On the higher end, there’s Café Solé, where the French expertise of Chef John Correa is put to work on local seafood and flavors. If you’re looking to keep it light, try The Café, a mostly vegetarian and vegan spot that helps you feel a bit less bloated when your lounging poolside in your speedo (or less). Just be sure you make at least one stop at the artisanal Glazed Donuts before you depart, even if it’s en route to the airport home after the swimsuit has been safely tucked away.

Art Lovers
Find the perfect piece to adorn your walls among any of Key Wests 30+ art galleries. If your taste in visual art leans more contemporary, try Lucky Street Gallery or Harrison Gallery. If bad weather threatens to rain on your vacation’s parade, see what’s going up at the esteemed Waterfront Playhouse. Upcoming productions include Avenue Q, Good People and Forever Plaid. Or, you can grab a popcorn and catch a flick at the gorgeous Tropic Cinema.

History Buffs
The rich history of Key West is obvious strolling down any street. Visitors can step right into Ernest Hemingway’s home and try to find the penny he pressed into the wet concrete as he allegedly protested construction costs, yelling “Here, take the last penny I’ve got!” You can get to know other prominent Key Westers at the Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden where bronze busts portray influential men and women from the island’s history. Take another look at history at Key West Cemetery, which is not as dark as it sounds. Many of the gravestones are known for their quirky inscriptions, including “I told you I was sick,” “I’ll always remember my so-called friends” and “Devoted Fan of Singer Julio Iglesias.”

Instagram Photo

 

Family-Friendly
For those traveling with their modern family in tow, there are plenty of (fully-clothed, wholesome) activities to be enjoyed by all ages. The Key West Aquarium — which was the first open-air aquarium when it was completed in 1935 but added a roof in the ‘60s to cut down on algae — is home to sharks, stingrays, turtles, fish and more. When you’ve had your fill of aquatic animals, swing by Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden, an educational sanctuary for parrots. Families can also get a good grip on Old Town Key West on the Conch Tour Train, a 90-minute tour including stops in Station Depot, Truval Village and Flagler Station. Plus, kids ride free.

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‘Will & Grace’ is Returning for 10 Episodes!

Will Grace reunion

Will & Grace is returning for 10 episodes, NBC announced today at the Television Critics Association press tour, EW reports:

Original series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will act as showrunners and executive producers, while prolific director James Burrows, who directed every episode of the show during its initial eight-year run, is on board to direct and executive produce.

“We’re thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back,” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. “This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary — all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture — is coming back where it belongs.”

The cast, who will all be returning, had been coy about rumors that the show would return.

Leslie Jordan, who played the sassy “frenemy” of Karen Walker on the hit sitcom, appeared to have spilled the beans on a revival of the beloved show in an interview.

Declared Jordan: “Here’s the way it works: [NBC] has ordered 10 [episodes]. It’ll be for next season, so they’ll go in in July.”

Debra Messing quashed Jordan’s statement, claiming a revival was “nothing beyond talks.”

Megan Mullally had spoken about “the completely made up world” where the show was coming back for 10 episodes shortly after the cast of the iconic sitcom Will & Gracereunited in a video for Hillary Clinton.

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Julian Assange Appears to Backpedal on Extradition Promise After Commutation of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not agree to extradition following the commutation of the bulk of Chelsea Manning’s sentence by President Obama.

RELATED: President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

Assange had promised to submit should Obama “grant Manning clemency.”

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His legal team at first said that Assange stood by his commitment.

The Guardian reports:

Melinda Taylor, who serves on Assange’s legal team, said he would not be going back on his word. “Everything that he has said he’s standing by,” she told the Associated Press.

The WikiLeaks Twitter accounted also tweeted:

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The Hill reported something quite different on Wednesday morning, a statement from another member of Assange’s legal team, saying Obama’s commutation did not go far enough:

“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning’s sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S.-based attorney, via email.  “Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”

Wikileaks tweeted this on Wednesday morning:

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The Guardian adds:

The White House insisted on Tuesday that Assange’s offer to submit to extradition if Obama “grants Manning clemency” did not influence the US president’s action.

“The president’s decision to offer commutation was not influenced by public comments by Mr Assange or the WikiLeaks organisation,” the White House official said. “I have no insight into Mr Assange’s travel plans. I can’t speak to any charges or potential charges he may be facing from the justice department.”

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NFL: We Haven’t Told Lady Gaga She Can’t Talk Trump or Politics Ahead of Super Bowl

Lady Gaga Super Bowl

The NFL today denied reports that it had imposed a gag order on Lady Gaga, barring her from talking about politics ahead of her Super Bowl halftime performance.

CNN reports:

“It’s false,” Natalie Ravitz, senior vice president of communications for the NFL told CNN. “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Representatives for Lady Gaga confirmed the NFL’s statement.

Entertainment Tonight had reported on the alleged gag order:

A source close to the halftime show tells ET, “Lady Gaga was told by the NFL that she cannot say anything or bring anything up about the election, or mention Donald Trump.”

ET adds:

As for a report that Gaga is plotting a potentially dangerous performance, aiming to sing from the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium, ET’s source says that speculation about cutting a hole in the roof are inaccurate.

“The roof at NRG Stadium is retractable,” they said, “so I’m not sure why they would need to cut a hole in the roof.”

Regarding the rumors, a representative for the NFL said: “People will have to wait and see what we have in store – we never comment on speculation about the show because there is so much misinformation that surfaces. But we are confident Lady Gaga will put on a tremendous show for fans.”

Pepsi shared a behind the scenes of the halftime show on Tuesday:

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Donald Trump: ‘I Don’t Like to Lie’

Trump sniffles

Donald Trump gave an interview to the website Axios, which asked him about lying.

disrupt trump inaugurationSaid Trump: “I don’t like to lie, no. I don’t like to lie, no. It’s something that–it’s not something that I would like to be doing.”

When asked if it’s ever okay to lie, Trump responded: “I don’t want to answer the question because it’s–it gets to, you know, a different level than what we’re talking about for this interview.”

In other non-lies from the President-elect’s mouth, he told Fox & Friends on Wednesday that he doesn’t want celebrities at his inauguration:

“Many of the celebrities that are saying they’re not going, they were never invited. I don’t want the celebrities, I want the people. We have the biggest celebrities in the world there. The biggest in the world.”

He also told CNN that he was “never in that room” at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow where the alleged prostitutes were giving each other golden showers:

“It’s made up. Never existed. Never happened. And the reason I say that so strongly because nothing is ever going to show up. There’s never going to be a tape that shows up. There’s never going to be anything that shows up. Now, I would be very embarrassed if a tape actually showed up, saying something like that. It would be double embarrassed because I’m saying there is no tape. There is no event. I was never even in that room for that period of time. They made stuff up.”

Watch:

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