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August 11, 2017

Sebastian Gorka, who still works in the White House in some kind of foreign policy advisory role, spoke several times about North Korea on Thursday, and he made very clear who the enemy is: journalists. He began the day with BBC radio, where he suggested that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had no right to assure Americans that they "should sleep well at night," because he isn't Defense Secretary James Mattis.

"You should listen to the president; the idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical," Gorka told the BBC. "It is the job of Secretary Mattis, the secretary of defense, to talk about the military options, and he has done so unequivocally. ... Secretary Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States, and it is his portfolio to handle those issues."

When anchor Liz Claman challenged Gorka on this on Fox News Thursday afternoon, Gorka said he wasn't saying Tillerson was out of line to try and ratchet down tensions with North Korea. "I was admonishing the journalists of the fake news industrial complex who are forcing our chief diplomat into a position where they are demanding he makes the military case for action when that is not the mandate of the secretary of state," he said. "If a journalist doesn't know the difference between the secretary of state and the Department of Defense, they should hand in their credentials." Claman said Tillerson didn't look like he was forced into saying anything. She did not point out that Mattis has felt quite comfortable talking about diplomatic solutions to the North Korean crisis.

Gorka also attacked the press on Wednesday, in an interview with Breitbart News Daily radio, while defending his statement that "there's no such thing as a lone wolf" attack, because all serious attacks and plots are linked to the Islamic State or al Qaeda. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman apparently noted that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was not connected to ISIS or al Qaeda, and Gorka told Breitbart that "Maggie Haberman and her acolytes in the fake news media" are misguided. "It's this constant, 'Oh, it's the white man. It's the white supremacists. That's the problem.' No, it isn't, Maggie Haberman. Go to Sinjar. Go to the Middle East, and tell me what the real problem is today. Go to Manchester." You can listen to the clip at Think Progress. Peter Weber

1:19 a.m. ET

They were already a tight-knit group, and now seven firefighters with the Glenpool Fire Department in Oklahoma have something else to bond over — over the last year, they've all become fathers.

On Sunday, they decided to take a big fire family photo, and while it took a lot of effort to wrangle all the babies, their parents were happy with the results — in one photo, the babies — five girls and two boys — sat on their dads' jackets, and in another, they rested in their arms. "We're a really close group so we were glad we took the time to capture the babies with their daddies," mom Melanie Todd told CBS News. "Now we just look forward to seeing them all grow up together."

Firefighter Mick Whitney said his colleagues and their spouses are all friends, and it feels fitting to go through parenthood together. "It's a little different in our group," he said. "We go out fishing, hanging out. It's a unique dynamic." Catherine Garcia

12:54 a.m. ET
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Philip Roth, one of the most prolific and celebrated writers of his generation, died Tuesday. He was 85, and a close friend, Judith Thurman, said the cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Between his first collection of stories, Goodbye, Columbus (1959), and his final novel, 2010's Nemesis, Roth won two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, and three PEN/Faulkner Awards, among other honors. He is best known for his 1969 novel Portnoy's Complaint, and his literary explorations of life as an American, a Jew, and a man, and sex and lust. Many of his protagonists were thinly veiled versions of himself — Nathan Zuckerman, Alexander Portnoy, David Kepesh — and his work played with and blurred the lines between truth and fiction. "Making fake biography, false history, concocting a half-imaginary existence out of the actual drama of my life is my life," Roth told Hermione Lee in a 1984 interview in The Paris Review. "There has to be some pleasure in this life, and that's it."

Roth was born and raised in the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, the setting for many of his novels. He was the younger of two sons of Herman Roth, a manager at Metropolitan Life, and Bess Roth née Finkel. He was married twice, the second marriage ending in 1994. Roth retired from writing in 2010 but didn't tell anyone for two years.

"In just a matter of months I'll depart old age to enter deep old age — easing ever deeper daily into the redoubtable Valley of the Shadow," Roth told The New York Times in January. "Right now it is astonishing to find myself still here at the end of each day. ... It's something like playing a game, day in and day out, a high-stakes game that for now, even against the odds, I just keep winning. We will see how long my luck holds out." Peter Weber

12:15 a.m. ET
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Korryn Bachner couldn't go to the prom, so the prom came to her.

The 15-year-old from Illinois was burned in April in a backyard fire pit explosion, which injured several teenagers. Bachner's face and hands were badly burned, and while she was able to leave the hospital to recover at home, she wasn't going to be able to attend prom with her friends.

To surprise her, Bachner's prom date came over to her house and decorated the basement, and all of their friends came together for a mini-prom. "There were tears," her dad, Bob Bachner, told WLS-TV. Doctors say it will take several months, but they expect a full recovery. "Having all my friends support, it helps a lot," Bachner said. "It takes my mind off things." Catherine Garcia

May 22, 2018

President Trump spoke at the Susan B. Anthony List's annual "Campaign for Life Gala" Tuesday night, and he urged the anti-abortion advocates gathered before him to vote for Republicans in the fall. "Every day between now and November we must work together to elect more lawmakers who share our values, cherish our heritage, and proudly stand for life,” Trump said. But he broke from his script after the teleprompter told him to say that the 2018 midterms were as important as the 2016 presidential election. "I'm not sure I really believe that," he said. "I don't know who the hell wrote that line." The audience laughed.

As Trump's speechwriters and political advisers might say: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Peter Weber

May 22, 2018
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More than 200 professors at the University of Southern California have called on President C.L. Max Nikias to step down, writing in a letter that he has "lost the moral authority to lead" after it was reported that the campus gynecologist was able to see patients for years, despite complaints.

The professors sent a letter to the USC Board of Trustees on Tuesday, saying Nikias failed to "protect our students, our staff, and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct." The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Dr. George Tyndall, the only gynecologist on campus for several decades, was accused of inappropriate behavior, but he wasn't removed from the student health center until 2016, when a nurse complained to a rape crisis center.

An internal university investigation found that Tyndall's pelvic exams were outside the scope of current medical practice and considered sexual harassment. Tyndall, who denies any wrongdoing, was able to resign and receive a payout, and USC did not report him to the state medical board. USC Provost Michael Quick wrote in a letter on Monday that senior leadership on campus did not learn about the complaints until last year, and "this claim of a coverup is patently false."

An hour after the Board of Trustees received the letter, Chairman John Mork released a statement announcing that the trustees found the report on Tyndall "troubling" but they still "strongly support" Nikias. Nikias has said he understands "the faculty's anger and disappointment," and the university will rewrite its Code of Ethics. Catherine Garcia

May 22, 2018
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Stacey Abrams won Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, defeating former state Rep. Stacey Evans.

Both women are attorneys in the Atlanta area. Abrams, a former Georgia state House minority leader, is the first female nominee for governor in Georgia from either major party, The Associated Press reports. If she wins in November's general election, she will become the first black female governor in the United States.

On the Republican side, five men are running in the primary, and unless one of them receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff between the top two on July 24. The candidates are Lt. Gov Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, state Sen. Michael Williams, and Clay Tippins. Catherine Garcia

May 22, 2018
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Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath won the Democratic House primary in Kentucky's 6th congressional district on Tuesday, defeating Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

She will face Republican Rep. Andy Barr in November. Democrats are looking to flip the seat in a district that voted for President Trump by a 16-point margin in 2016. McGrath spent 20 years in the service, retiring from the Marine Corps last June as a lieutenant colonel. Catherine Garcia

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