February 4, 2019

Liam Neeson just derailed the press tour for his new movie Cold Pursuit with a jaw-dropping story.

In an interview with The Independent to promote his latest revenge thriller, the actor revealed that that years ago, someone close to him was allegedly raped, and when she told him the rapist was a black man, he went out with a weapon hoping to have a run-in with a random black person so he could let out his rage.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody," he said. "I'm ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week — hoping some 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."

Neeson admitted in the interview that the behavior he described was "awful" but that he "learned a lesson" from the experience, which he volunteered apparently in an attempt to discuss the themes of the film, in which his character seeks revenge for the death of his son. But he seemed to realize he made a huge mistake here, telling the reporter of the story, "I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid.” Meanwhile, his co-star Tom Bateman, who was sitting next to him the entire time, spoke for all of us by saying, "Holy sh-t." Brendan Morrow

12:55 p.m.

The Olympics are slip-sliding back into Italy.

Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo will host the 2026 Winter Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday. The decision means Italy will host another winter games 20 years after it held them in Turin, and comes as the IOC moves toward condensing games to fewer locations with reliable funding, The Associated Press reports.

The decision came down to Stockholm and its nearby ski resort of Are, Sweden, and the joint Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo bid. Cortina d'Ampezzo is a ski resort that's a few hours' drive from Milan, and held the winter games in 1956 as well. Skeptics worried that Italy couldn't handle such a large-scale event given its recent economic troubles that derailed its previous Summer Olympic bids. But Italy's Undersecretary of State Giancarlo Giorgetti pointed out that Milan-Cortina are "two of the richest provinces in Europe," AP notes.

Italy isn't alone in its financial woes, seeing as nations are known to spend billions of dollars fulfilling their Olympic hosting duties. That reality has led the IOC to consider rotating between a few economically sound cities, or letting broader areas split hosting duties. Turin was originally included in Italy's 2026 bid, but dropped out amid a "political squabble among the cities' mayors," The New York Times says.

Watch Sweden get the bad news below. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:16 p.m.

There might be more to President Trump's decision to withhold a military strike against Iran last week, The Washington Post reports.

Trump said he aborted the strike after learning that an estimated 150 Iranians would die, which he deemed disproportionate to Tehran shooting down an unmanned U.S. drone. White House officials reportedly said Trump had actually been told the number of potential casualties before he called off the raid, but Trump said he was given "very odd numbers" and wanted a more accurate estimate.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump was receiving casualty assessments "throughout," but he backed up his boss, saying that there were more specific projections provided to the president in the later stages.

But therein lies the bigger issue, Ned Price, former President Barack Obama's special assistant on national security, told the Post's Greg Sargent. Price said that the president should have received the specific information at the outset.

"The vice president seems to acknowledge that the estimates sent to the president changed over time," Price said. He questioned whether Trump's advisers "may be orchestrating a process that not only filters but potentially manipulates information making its way to the president."

It is possible, but not typical, that Trump might not have been briefed on a casualty estimate change until late in the game. So, Sargent concludes, either Trump was given the 150 casualty estimate earlier then he said, raising doubt over his reasoning for calling off the strike, or his advisers were giving him potentially-manipulated information. Either way, Sargent argues, "more scrutiny is warranted." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

11:59 a.m.

It's a big day for companies with names that sound suspiciously like curse words.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a provision in a federal law banning "scandalous" or "immoral" trademarks from being registered, NBC News reports. This came as part of a case in which a clothing brand named FUCT was denied a trademark because it sounds like, well, you know. The company's founder, Erik Brunetti, took the case to court, during which he said that actually, the name is an acronym for "FRIENDS U CAN'T TRUST" and that it's supposed to be pronounced F-U-C-T.

Thanks to the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling, Brunetti will be able to get his trademark. Associate Justice Elena Kagan said that "the First Amendment does not allow the government to penalize views just because many people, whether rightly or wrongly, see them as offensive," per USA Today.

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, though, arguing that the First Amendment "does not require the government to give aid and comfort to those using obscene, vulgar and profane modes of expression." Roberts, as well as Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, argued in favor of striking down the part of the law that banned "immoral" trademarks, but not the "scandalous" part, ABC News reports.

The Supreme Court did say, however, that Congress is free to write a "more carefully focused" statute banning "the registration of marks containing vulgar terms that play no real part in the expression of ideas," NPR reports.

This decision comes after the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 against the government's ability to deny disparaging trademarks, in that case to an Asian American band called the Slants, The Washington Post reports. Mentioned in the case was the Washington Redskins, which was similarly looking to retain a trademark on its "disparaging" name. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement at the time, "I am THRILLED." Brendan Morrow

11:23 a.m.

It's back.

The Supreme Court will hear yet another case involving the Affordable Care Act, it announced Monday. This isn't a challenge to the act itself, but rather a lawsuit from health care providers and health insurers who claim ObamaCare cost them $12 billion in lost payments.

Former President Barack Obama's signature act largely took effect in 2014, but soon after, Republicans had passed a provision requiring it was budget neutral, CNN notes. That provision didn't come until insurers had already set their 2014 rates, meaning they had accounted for a higher federal reimbursement than they would now actually receive. Three small insurers tallied that loss up to $12 billion, and sued the federal government over it.

An appeals court decided against two of the carriers last June, prompting four of them to join together to bring the case to the Supreme Court. Beyond reimbursing that total, a ruling in the insurers' favor could set the agenda for similar pending cases, CNN continues. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Attorneys general in mostly blue states have filed briefs in support of the insurers.

This case will be the fifth involving ObamaCare to come up before the Supreme Court, Politico says. Another constitutional challenge to the ACA, led by Republicans, could also head to the Supreme Court soon. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:03 a.m.

No "freedom gas" here, thank you very much.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is, for all intents and purposes, the climate candidate in the field of 2020 Democrats. He lived up to his reputation on Monday when he unveiled an 11,000-word, 27-page opus titled "Freedom from Fossil Fuels." The plan, as its name suggests, outlines how the United States would gradually eliminate its reliance on coal, oil, and gas under an Inslee presidency. His campaign says the proposal is part of Inslee's goal to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2045, Axios reports.

It's a mix of legislative and executive proposals, Axios reports, and a few of the standouts include cutting nearly $20 billion in coal, gas, and oil subsidies, tax breaks, and royalty exemptions; ending new fossil fuel leasing; and curbing development on non-federal land. Inslee also calls for re-imposing a ban on crude oil exports and instituting a "climate pollution fee" on various industries, though the cap is unknown.

While the plan would damage the fossil fuel industry, Inslee did include proposals for helping industry workers transition, including a "G.I. Bill for Energy Workers."

With the plan's release, Inslee also becomes the first 2020 candidate to consider the idea of nationalizing parts of the fossil fuel industry by buying out and decommissioning assets, HuffPost reports. Inslee, though, refuted that notion, saying that the section referred to buying back and terminating unused leases. Still, the language appears to leave room for ramping things up in the future. Tim O'Donnell

10:08 a.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been called a less radical alternative to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Her backers think that's the wrong approach.

Instead of aiming to snag Sanders supporters as the 2020 Democratic primaries ramp up, Warren's allies at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have said their new "Switch to Warren" initiative will actually zero in on Joe Biden's base. That's because Biden's backers "are ready to bolt," PCCC co-founder Adam Green tells BuzzFeed News, and the group is ready to snatch them for Warren.

Biden secured the top spot in Democratic primary polls even months before he started his campaign, while Warren had a relatively dismal showing after launching late last year. Yet in recent weeks, she's been securing third and even second place showings, breaking Sanders' seemingly solid No. 2 rank.

Earlier speculation suggested Warren was stealing voters from Sanders' ranks. But the PCCC, which has more than 1 million members and has been tied to Warren since her 2012 Senate run, sees it differently. "The two big honeypots for Warren are actually Biden supporters and undecided voters" because they want a candidate who can "inspire voters in the general election," Green told BuzzFeed News. The PCCC has already rounded up some of these Democrats who've abandoned their original candidates for Warren, and is collecting their testimonials for the "Switch to Warren" push that began Monday.

While Warren's supporters are eager to discuss their 2020 swap, Warren has so far said it's "too early to talk about polls" that pit her against other primarygoers. Read more at BuzzFeed News. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:58 a.m.

Fox & Friends was not impressed with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's town hall on Sunday.

Buttigieg held a town hall after a white officer in his hometown shot a black man, Eric Logan, on June 16. The town hall was tense with protesters questioning Buttigieg's leadership, especially amid his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

On Monday's edition of the show, host Brian Kilmeade said Buttigieg "looked small when he needed to look big." Guest host Rachel Campos-Duffy questioned Buttigieg's decision to sit behind a desk during the town hall rather than walk around and engage more directly with the assembly, mentioning that she has never seen her husband, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.), sit during a town hall — and, believe her, her husband holds a lot of town halls.

"This is a moment for him to prove he's presidential, even just his body language looks weak and out of control," Campos-Duffy said.

Host Steve Doocy also brought up a tweet from former President Barack Obama's chief strategist, which described the town hall as an unanticipated test for Buttigieg — one through which voters would learn more about him.

"So far, so not good," Kilmeade said in response to the tweet.

The segment concluded with the hosts speculating that former President Bill Clinton, late Sen. John McCain, and President Trump would have owned the stage in a way that Buttigieg failed to do. Watch the full clip at Mediaite. Tim O'Donnell

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