Six female Democratic senators called on Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to step down Wednesday, just hours after a seventh woman accused him of inappropriate conduct, BuzzFeed News reports. In a lengthy Facebook post, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) described her disappointment in learning her "friend" had "engaged in behavior towards women that is unacceptable."
"Enough is enough," Gillibrand wrote. "The women who have come forward are brave and I believe them."
Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Patty Murray (Wash.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.) also added their voices to the chorus:
It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) December 6, 2017
Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a good Senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women. (thread)
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) December 6, 2017
— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) December 6, 2017
Al Franken should resign.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) December 6, 2017
Dem CA Sen Harris tweet: "I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down." 6 Dem female senators have called on Franken to step aside now.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 6, 2017
Franken has admitted to some of the allegations against him, including that he groped radio host Leeann Tweeden during a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden's allegation, the first made against the senator, came nearly three weeks ago. On Wednesday, he denied the allegations brought by a seventh woman who chose to remain anonymous, calling them "categorically not true." Jeva Lange
Stephen Colbert ran through the new allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and they are mildly NSFW. His new accuser, Deborah Ramirez, "acknowledges that she has gaps in her memory, because she had also been drinking that night, but she remembers that somebody yelled down the hall, 'Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face,'" he said on Monday's Late Show. "And a little further down the hall, a 50-year-old Chuck Grassley yelled, 'Get that man on the Supreme Court!'"
Colbert noted that the allegations originated not from Ramirez but from emails among Ramirez's classmates in July, before Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward. "Obviously this is a disturbing allegation that has to be investigated," he said. "You don't want to confirm a perv to a job where you get to wear a robe every day." Kavanaugh, to rebut Ford's allegations, "is attempting a bold new defense strategy," Colbert said: Handing over his calendars from 1982. "Who hangs on to their high school calendars?" he asked "The only things I have left over from high school are deep emotional scars."
The Late Show also had some jokes about Kavanaugh's yearbook, the focus of some real questions on Monday
On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah also mocked Kavanaugh's 1982 calendars gambit. "Come on, man, a calendar just says what you plan on doing, not what you actually did," he said. "It's also pretty ballsy that Kavanaugh, as a judge, would bring up an old calendar as his defense, because I wonder if that would hold up in his court?" Look, Noah said, "I get why Republicans are doing this. Getting five conservative justices onto the Supreme Court is something they've been dreaming of for 40 years, so they'll do anything to get it done, even if it means normalizing sexual assault." He had a focus group to prove it. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Monday, a federal judge reversed a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift protections for 700 grizzly bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park.
Wyoming and Idaho had already issued 23 hunting permits for this fall, the first grizzly hunt to take place in the United States outside of Alaska in 27 years, but U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's decision cancels the hunt. Christensen said this was "not about the ethics of hunting" but rather that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "failed to make a reasoned decision" when it concluded grizzly bears are no longer a threatened species that needs federal protections.
Grizzly bears were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, when there were only about 136 of the animals still in Yellowstone. Catherine Garcia
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of Instagram, are leaving the company, saying they plan on "taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again."
They founded the photo-sharing app in 2010 and sold it to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. Systrom is the company's CEO and Krieger the chief technology officer, and in a blog post Monday night, Systrom said in order to build something new, they need to "step back, understand what inspires us, and match that with what the world needs."
People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Systrom and Krieger were clashing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of Instagram, frustrated that he was spending more and more time in the day-to-day operations of the brand. In a statement, Zuckerberg called Systrom and Krieger "extraordinary product leaders" with "creative talents. I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it." Catherine Garcia
Kavanaugh and his friends bragged about being 'alumni' of the same girl in high school, and she just found out
In an interview Monday on Fox News, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh portrayed his high school days at Georgetown Prep as focused on sports, service, church, and academics, said he's "always treated women with dignity and respect," and suggested he never drank to excess. His senior high school yearbook page paints a different picture, including naming himself the "treasurer" of the "Keg City Club" — "100 Kegs or Bust" — and "Beach Week Ralph Club — Biggest Contributor."
Kavanaugh also named himself a "Renate Alumnius" [sic], one of 14 references to "Renate" in Georgetown Prep's 1983 yearbook. Those references, including a "Renate Alumni" tag under a photo of nine football players including Kavanaugh, are to Renate Schroeder, a student a nearby Catholic girls' school, The New York Times reports. Renate Schroeder Dolphin, who was one of 65 women who signed a letter attesting to Kavanaugh's respectful behavior toward women, wasn't aware of the suggestive references to her in the yearbook until now, and she isn't happy.
"I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago," Dolphin told the Times. "I don't know what 'Renate Alumnus' actually means. I can't begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful, and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way."
Four of the men in the "Renate Alumni" photo said in a statement from a PR representative that the Renate references "were intended to allude to innocent dates or dance partners." Kavanaugh's lawyer said "Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event," and that's what he referred to in his yearbook, "nothing else." Dolphin told the Times, "I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him."
Classmates of Kavanaugh said his "fratty" clique bragged about sexual conquests, real or imagined, and the Renate references were in that vein. Read more, and see the yearbook pages in question, at The New York Times. Peter Weber
Christine Ford's attorney shares concerns over Kavanaugh Senate hearing not being 'fair and credible'
In a letter sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Monday night, an attorney for Christine Blasey Ford asked how his client could expect to receive "fair and respectful treatment" when she testifies in front of the committee Thursday, considering what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had to say about her earlier in the day.
Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers. Attorney Michael Bromwich said that while speaking on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, McConnell claimed Ford was part of a "smear campaign" against Kavanaugh, and implied, falsely, that there had been an investigation and there was a lack of evidence proving the assault took place. Grassley had told Ford she would be provided "a fair and credible process," Bromwich said, but McConnell's statements "are flatly inconsistent" with Grassley's promise.
Bromwich also wanted to know more about the "experienced sex crimes prosecutor" who is being hired to question Ford. "This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate," he said. "Neither Dr. Blasey Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh is on trial. The goal should be to develop the relevant facts, not try a case." This is not on par with Watergate or Iran-Contra, and it is "disingenuous" for Republicans to state otherwise, he said, later adding. "The central point is that there is no precedent for this committee to bring in outside counsel for the sole purpose of shielding the members of the Committee from performing their responsibility to question witnesses." Catherine Garcia
President Trump heaped praise on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Monday night on Twitter, while blasting Democrats for their "False Acquisitions" that are keeping him from the bench.
"The Democrats are working hard to destroy a wonderful man, and a man who has the potential to be one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices ever, with an array of False Acquisitions the likes of which have never been seen before!" Trump tweeted. He followed up with a simple message: "REMEMBER THE MIDTERMS!"
Trump either noticed or was told that "Acquisitions" is not how you spell "accusations," as he later posted his first message again — this time with the right word, albeit still unnecessarily capitalized. Catherine Garcia
Researchers have found that after only 10 minutes of light exercise, there is enhanced communication between the regions of the brain that store and recall memories.
Scientists from the University of California, Irvine, had 36 healthy volunteers in their early 20s exercise for 10 minutes, doing light activity like yoga or walking. The volunteers then took a memory test, which was repeated later without exercise. The researchers asked 16 of the volunteers to take the test again, with some exercising first and others resting. While studying their brain activity, it was discovered that those who exercised had increased activity between the hippocampus and cortical brain regions, which are all associated with memory.
The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with the researchers writing that volunteers who exercised had an easier time distinguishing between different memories. Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist at UCI and project co-leader, told The Guardian that the amount of exercise is dependent on a person's age, mobility level, and other lifestyle factors, and for many, taking a leisurely stroll is enough. Catherine Garcia