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March 28, 2016
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Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are reportedly no longer making customary congratulatory calls to each other's campaigns after primary losses. While they (or their high-ranking aides) made the calls early on, in more recent races both candidates have declined to phone each other with their compliments and concessions.

Though skipping the calls (or, in earlier eras, the telegrams or letters) might be understandable given the sheer length of the primary process, it is widely considered bad form — like refusing to shake the other team's hands at the end of a baseball game. "Those who don't make the call are often considered sore losers," explained former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle.

For their part, the Sanders campaign has stated that congratulatory calls have been skipped merely on account of differing time zones and schedules, not a lack of graciousness. Clinton's camp declined to comment on its shift to a frostier approach. Bonnie Kristian

12:21 a.m. ET

At a time when seemingly every aspect of American life breaks along fairly predictable partisan lines, there's something refreshingly quixotic about the fractured reaction to this photo of White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office, after snapping a smartphone photo of President Trump and the leaders of black colleges and universities.

"I don't care how Kellyanne Conway sits on a sofa in the Oval office and can't imagine why it would bother people," tweeted New York's Jonathan Chait, a liberal. Amanda Carpenter, a conservative political operative, responded to a #CouchGate post from the The Reagan Battalion by rolling her eyes: "She was getting a picture, [people]. Calm down." Last Week Tonight writer Josh Gondelman quipped that he'd "only be able to get mad at the way Kellyanne Conway sits on a couch if it turns out she's hiding of Trump's tax returns under her."

On the other hand, Conway clearly had her shoes on the Oval Office couch, and some people viewed that as a sign of disrespect for the office, especially since there was no obvious reason she needed to be snapping a photo with her phone, or to snap it from the couch:

Several commentators recalled the conservative outrage when former President Barack Obama was photographed putting his feet on his desk in the Oval Office, while others, like Rachel Vorona Cote at Jezebel, bristled at what she called Conway's "alternative decorum" and the lack of respect Cote felt Conway was showing to "the country’s most esteemed African American educators" gathered in the room. Bret Stephens, the Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editorial page editor, was similarly unimpressed:

But hey, at least we've all stopped arguing about that white-and-gold dress. Peter Weber

February 27, 2017
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The Senate on Monday evening confirmed Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary on a 72-27 vote. Ross has extensive business relationships around the world, and to comply with an ethics agreement he will divest from the private equity firm he founded in 2000, WL Ross & Co., and drop his position, though not his stake, in shipping company Diamond S. Shipping. Ross, worth about $2.9 billion, also vowed he will not act to benefit any company he has a financial interest in. The Senate has now confirmed 15 of Trump's 22 Cabinet-level picks. Next on the docket is Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for interior secretary. Peter Weber

February 27, 2017
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Two tourists are planning to take a trip to the moon in 2018. SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced Monday that two private citizens have paid the company a "significant deposit" to be flown around the moon. The space exploration company did not name the travelers or specify how much they'd paid.

The trip is expected to be about a week long, and the mission will likely life off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the same launch pad used for the Apollo program. The space travelers would not actually land on the moon; they'd just circle it and then head back to Earth.

But first, the hopeful travelers will have to prepare for their out-of-this-world trip. "We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year," SpaceX said in a statement. "Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow." Becca Stanek

February 27, 2017
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President Trump wasn't impressed with the 2017 Academy Awards. In an interview Monday with Breitbart News, Trump said the awards show Sunday night was "a little sad," probably because stars spent too much time criticizing him. "It took away from the glamor of the Oscars," Trump said of the night's political commentary. "It didn't feel like a very glamorous evening. I've been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing, and then to end that way was sad."

Trump suggested the mix-up at the end — when La La Land was mistakenly awarded Best Picture, only for the award to be passed off minutes later to the rightful winner Moonlight — actually may have happened because everyone was paying so much attention to him. "I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn't get the act together at the end," Trump said.

Trump was mentioned many times during the awards show. Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel repeatedly ribbed Trump throughout the evening, even tweeting at the president at one point, and Casey Affleck deemed Trump's policies "abhorrent" during his Best Actor acceptance speech. Other stars slammed the commander-in-chief without even saying his name, rallying support for immigrants in the face of Trump's travel ban and calling for tolerance and acceptance. However, the Best Picture mix-up more likely had something to do with presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway being handed the wrong envelope. Becca Stanek

February 27, 2017
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White House meals are subject to celebration and scrutiny, ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt's famously inedible kitchen to Michelle Obama's homegrown fares. But one month into President Trump's stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., first lady Melania Trump "has said little publicly about what she expects or wants from the cooking and entertaining staff," The New York Times reports.

"Without a hands-on first lady, they're just pumping out food and seeing what the reaction is," explained presidential food writer Adrian Miller.

While the responsibilities of running the kitchen traditionally fall on the first lady, Melania Trump is living at Trump Tower, in Manhattan, through the spring. As a former model, her culinary preferences include water and fruit, although her Slovenian relatives were farmers. George Ball of the Burpee seed company said he is offering Melania Trump Raka red onion seeds to showcase in her garden as her maternal grandfather created the hybrid variety.

But "usually, the food suffers when the first lady is uninterested," Miller said.

President Trump's culinary preferences are thought to include well-done steak with ketchup and an abundance of fast food. "I don't expect to see President Trump expounding the value of spinach and broccoli," said Sam Kass, former President Barack Obama's senior policy adviser for nutrition. Jeva Lange

February 27, 2017
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In an interview published Monday morning, Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Richards admitted to BuzzFeed News that she is uncertain what lies ahead for the organization under the Trump administration. "The truth is, no one really knows what will make a difference anymore," Richards said, after a draft of the House Republican proposal to repeal ObamaCare leaked last week that called for a complete defunding of Planned Parenthood.

BuzzFeed News reports that under the leaked proposal, the low-income women who make up roughly 60 percent of Planned Parenthood's 2.5 million patients would no longer be able to receive non-abortion health care. The organization currently relies on more than $500 million in federal funding to provide services nationwide including STI tests, birth control, and cancer screenings to women in need. While Richards said her organization won't go down without a fight, she told BuzzFeed News that "there's no way to overstate what a health-care crisis this would be for women" if Planned Parenthood were to lose that funding.

Since the election, protests like last month's Women's March have sprung up all across the globe in support of reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood in particular. Richards said she and her team are on a quest to "fill in a picture for people" about the other services the organization provides aside from abortion, including running an ad featuring a woman relaying how a visit to Planned Parenthood convinced her not to undergo the procedure. Federal funds do not pay for abortion services.

Asked whether the record-breaking number of donations to Planned Parenthood since Donald Trump won the presidential election — including tens of thousands made in Vice President Mike Pence's name — could replace federal funding should Congress pull the plug, Richards said "the answer to that is no. Not to take care of 2.5 million patients."

Read the rest of the interview with Richards at BuzzFeed News. Sarah Weldon

February 27, 2017

At least 16 Jewish community centers and day schools across the U.S. reported receiving bomb threats Monday, the latest in a recent uptick of anti-Semitic acts. The threats extended across 11 states, with threats confirmed in Maryland, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, and Alabama, NBC News reported.

The JCC Association of North America said in a statement that "many affected institutions have already been declared clear and have returned to regular operations."

The latest wave of threats comes just a day after dozens of headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were toppled, the second time a Jewish cemetery has been vandalized this month. Since the beginning of 2017, at least 80 anti-Semitic threats have been reported in Canada and the U.S.

The FBI and the Department of Justice have launched investigations, and President Trump has promised this "horrible" anti-Semitism is "going to stop." But the JCC Association of North America noted "actions speak louder than words." "Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities," the statement read. Becca Stanek

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