Patton Oswalt Shares Sweet Tribute To His Late Wife On Anniversary Of Her Death

Patton Oswalt shared a touching tribute to his late wife, Michelle McNamara, on Twitter Friday, marking the one-year anniversary of her death.

Along with two photos of McNamara, Oswalt wrote, “A beautiful friend. She opened her heart and let me in…” 

A beautiful friend
She opened up her heart and let me in… pic.twitter.com/YdqevJ2UiS

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 21, 2017

McNamara died suddenly last April while she was asleep. Oswalt later revealed her cause of death was a combination of prescription medications and an undiagnosed heart problem

Since her death, the comedian has been very open with fans about dealing with the grief and pain that followed. 

“The reaction to her passing, the people who are shocked at her senseless absence, is a testament to how she steered her life with joyous, wicked curiosity,” he wrote in a piece for Time magazine last May. “Her family is devastated but can’t help remember all of the times she made them laugh or comforted them, and they smile and laugh themselves. She hasn’t left a void. She’s left a blast crater.”  

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

A River Runs Red And A Small-Town Paper Wants Answers

Storm Lake Times editor Art Cullen may have lost a few friends over his reporting in recent years, but now he’s gained a Pulitzer Prize.

Last week, Cullen, who co-owns the twice-a-week northwest Iowa newspaper with his brother John, was honored by the Pulitzer Prize board for a series of editorials about a water pollution lawsuit brought by the Des Moines Water Works against his home county, Buena Vista County, and two others.

The Des Moines utility argued in the lawsuit that Buena Vista and the two other agriculture-heavy counties were responsible for polluting the Raccoon River with nitrates from fertilizer runoff, and claimed the counties should be liable for the utility’s increasing costs of removing the pollutants from drinking water.

Cullen wondered who would finance his cash-strapped county’s defense. It wasn’t long before he grew suspicious that powerful agribusiness interests, including the Farm Bureau, were playing a role. He was determined that his family-run newspaper, circulation 3,300, find the truth.

To use a barnyard euphemism, every once in awhile even a blind pig finds a nut,” Cullen wrote in one of his Pulitzer-winning editorials. “We are not so polished, but our snout smells something that is being hidden. We can’t see very well right now. But we can smell it.”

Cullen detailed his search for answers in two tenacious years of editorials that uncovered a link between the counties and agribusiness groups soliciting funds from secret donors.

The fund now appears to have been dissolved, and the Des Moines lawsuit was dismissed last month. But the donors were never disclosed, and the county still has legal bills to pay.

The Raccoon River remains dirty, too, and the impact of the pollution can be felt far beyond Iowa’s borders. It’s contributing to nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River and a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that is threatening marine life and economies that depend on it.

And so, Cullen’s work isn’t finished. The Huffington Post recently spoke with him about how he got the story and what’s coming next.

You wrote in one of your Pulitzer-winning editorials that you could “smell something that is being hidden.” When exactly did you feel that you were onto something here? Was there an “aha” moment that you recall?

It was kind of a slow buildup, where basically we had the question of, OK, the Des Moines Water Works filed this lawsuit, so how are we going to defend it? Shouldn’t we have a talk real quick to see if we can get rid of this thing somehow? But the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors was already in contact with the Farm Bureau and the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, and they quickly set up this fund comprised of secret donors. That’s when I said, OK, we need to know who these donors are.

Did you anticipate that this would snowball into what it became — something you were reporting on so tenaciously for so long?

I did. I knew they didn’t want to tell us who the donors were. At first they claimed, “Our friends are going to help us out.” Who are those friends? “Well, it’s the Farm Bureau.” Was the money coming from member dues or what? “Well, we’re not sure how it’s going to work out, but we’ll get back to you.” It was the good ol’ boy response, and that ain’t good enough. Our concern was if the Agribusiness Association was meeting with Koch Fertilizer and Monsanto’s CEO on this, then they could be coloring how the county defends this case.

Art Cullen is a city editor, page designer and reporter. And, today, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer:https://t.co/fu4NCh8DYB pic.twitter.com/acoP80J1Fj

— Poynter (@Poynter) April 10, 2017

You’ve described in recent writing that you and the paper have sustained some backlash because of your reporting on this. How bad did it get?

It’s not been that bad. It was some people I thought were friends who aren’t friends anymore, and we lost a few ag ads. There weren’t many of them to begin with, because corporate ag doesn’t spend any money in community newspapers — they used to, but not anymore — so it’s been no great loss to us. We lost some subscribers, but I hope we picked up a few. But you can’t ignore the fact that the Raccoon River is running red with nitrates just so you can save your co-op ad.

The water pollution issue remains unresolved, particularly as the Des Moines Water Works lost its case in court and won’t appeal the ruling. Was that development disheartening to you?

Iowa has among the filthiest surface water in America, and it’s going to impact our groundwater, and that issue remains. There’s no leverage whatsoever in Iowa to change, because the water works lawsuit was the only leverage.

Now that the EPA is being dismantled and conservation funding is going to be cut by about 30 percent in the USDA budget, there’s going to be no new conservation reserve program efforts, no new filter strips, nothing to protect the Raccoon River any further ― other than farmers’ of good conscience. There are many of them trying to protect the river, but like I said in the editorials, 80 percent of them can be doing the right thing, but 20 percent can screw it all up. That’s what’s happening.

The state of Iowa is now on the verge of dismantling Iowa State University’s Leopold Center, a state-sponsored sustainable agriculture-focused research facility. That doesn’t seem encouraging, either.

It’s only going to get worse before it gets better, if it gets better. When Tom Vilsack, from Iowa, was secretary of agriculture, we had an opportunity to really try and do something. Everybody kept talking about voluntary nutrient reduction, because no Iowa politician wants to take on regulation of agriculture. It is the third rail of Iowa politics. But remember that the state doesn’t have any authority to regulate agriculture. I think the water works case underlined that.

What advice would you give to other journalists who might “smell something,” but maybe aren’t sure if they’re ready to dive down the rabbit hole on such a touchy subject?

Every newspaper is different. I’m really lucky with my Storm Lakes Times publisher and co-owner brother John, who’s a news guy, and we’re a news-driven newspaper. That’s not the most profitable model probably, but in order to be successful in that model, you have to do journalism. And journalism involves covering local government and going to all those boring meetings nobody wants to go to anymore, sitting through them and letting the supervisors beat the hell out of you at all those meetings. And then you ask for the records and you press and press and press to get them. And don’t be afraid to use the paper as a foil to get those records. We believe in hammering and hammering and hammering until the house is built. We’ve been writing editorials on this almost weekly for two years. We believe in hammering and hammering and hammering.

What’s next for you? More hammering?

I think I’ve made my point on this one and I gotta resist the temptation to get shitty. But I think we’re going to continue to cover nitrate and phosphorous levels in the Raccoon River and continue to hold up and shine a light on farmers who are trying to do the right thing and trying to be good neighbors.

I know there are farm guys out there with their backs against the wall. I’m not one to villainize farmers, but what corporate agribusiness is doing to Iowa is almost unconscionable. They’re destroying the basic openness and honest operation of Iowa government. Iowa was long known as one of the cleanest states in politics, and look at what’s happening. This is a culture of incivility and it’s spreading, and they’re ruining this state.

Do you have any faith that the political and agribusiness powers in Iowa could still right this ship?

Those corporate interests won’t come around. They’re defending Roundup- ready beans and BT corn and all that ― more tilling and more chemicals and more river pollution, and the idea is, OK, that’s just the cost of doing business in Iowa. There’s absolutely nothing that’s going to change that until the next election.

But nature is not going to allow us to continue the way we are. Yields will fall and the chickens will come home to roost. We’ll realize we have to change things and conserve soil and make agriculture resilient to climate change.

This will happen not because of political action, but because nature will demand it. People remember when the Cuyahoga River was on fire. Three years ago, there were toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie, and Toledo couldn’t drink their water. This is every bit as bad as that. You can’t keep doing this and getting away with it. Eventually we’ll wake up, but it’s going to take nature slapping us in the face. It’s already starting to happen.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related… + articlesList=58c06447e4b0d1078ca391e5,579a4957e4b0d3568f867e28,58b91b1fe4b05cf0f3ff7372

―-

Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food, water, agriculture and our climate. Follow Erbentraut on Twitter at @robojojo. Tips? Email joseph.erbentraut@huffingtonpost.com.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Gorsuch Hits the Ground Running at Supreme Court

Justice Neil Gorsuch is only halfway through his first sitting on the Supreme Court, yet is already having an impact that will be felt for years to come.

Inside The Online Community Of Men Who Preach Removing Condoms Without Consent

 

A new study explores the phenomenon of “stealthing” ― the purposefully nonconsensual removal of condoms during sex ― and how those who fall victim to the practice can move forward. 

The study, written by Alexandra Brodsky for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, features interviews with victims of stealthing. Brodsky also does a deep dive into the online world of men who feel entitled to “bareback” sex without their partner’s consent, regardless of that partner’s gender. 

Ultimately, Brodsky argues, stealthing is an act of gender-based sexual violence, and should be treated as such in the criminal justice system for victims who wish to pursue it. 

Brodsky told The Huffington Post that she wanted to study the phenomenon because, as she entered law school in the fall of 2013, she realized how many of her women friends were “struggling with forms of mistreatment by sexual partners that weren’t considered part of the recognized repertoire of gender based violence ― but that seemed rooted in the same misogyny and lack of respect.”

Brodsky, who now serves as a Legal Fellow for National Women’s Law Center (but wrote this article outside of her role for the organization), told HuffPost that what she found in her research was a group of victims who knew that something about being stealthed felt incredibly violating, but they “didn’t have the vocabulary” to process it.

She opens the study with the story of one woman, Rebecca, who had been stealthed herself, and who worked on a sexual violence crisis hotline. She found that many women were calling the hotline to try to suss out their experiences of having been stealthed.

“Their stories often start the same way,” Rebecca said. “’I’m not sure if this is rape, but…’”

Victims are confronted with not only the potential repercussions of condom-less sex ― pregnancy, STIs, HIV and AIDS ― but similar feelings of confusion and shame to those who have been victims of other kinds of sexual violence. After all, women who have been stealthed have been forced into a sexual act to which they have not consented. One victim in the study called the act of stealthing “rape-adjacent.” Another shared how the experience left her feeling violated and “freaked out.”

“Obviously the part that really freaked me out…was that it was such a blatant violation of what we’d agreed to,” she said. “I set a boundary. I was very explicit.” (It’s also worth noting that, earlier this year, a man in Switzerland was convicted of rape for this very act.)

In the study, Brodsky writes, “Survivors [of stealthing] describe nonconsensual condom removal as a threat to their bodily agency and as a dignitary harm. ‘You have no right to make your own sexual decisions,’ they are told. ‘You are not worthy of my consideration.’”

One can note that proponents of ‘stealthing’ root their support in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man’s natural right.
Alexandra Brodsky

Brodsky highlights the online communities who defend stealthing as a male “right,” particularly a right of every man to “spread his seed” ― regardless of if said man is engaging in straight or gay penetrative sex. The study quotes from comment threads and forums in which men “train” other men about stealthing best practices, and offer support and advice in their pursuit of nonconsensual condom removal during sex.

“One can note,” Brodsky writes, “that proponents of ‘stealthing’ root their support in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man’s natural right.” (The Huffington Post attempted to reach out to two publicly vocal and proud stealthers for this story but did not hear back.)

Because of the connection between stealthing and sexual assault, and the fact that both acts are rooted in beliefs of male dominance and supremacy, Brodsky believes there is reason for victims to pursue justice.  

In the study, she highlights the preexisting tools in the legal system, should victims of stealthing wish to pursue any kind of legal recourse (none of the victims featured in the study did). 

“Survivors experience real harms ― emotional, financial, and physical ― to which the law might provide remedy through compensation or simply an opportunity to be heard and validated,” she writes.

But Brodsky also acknowledges that the systems in place to support sexual violence survivors often do the opposite.

“We know that the law doesn’t work for gender violence survivors,” she told HuffPost. “Many of the myths and assumptions and forms of skepticism that we see from judges approaching rape victims and other kinds of sexual assault victims are likely to be present in stealthing cases.”

Which is why, in the study, she concludes that a new statute might be the best way to go ―  not just because victims might want to press charges or pursue a case against the person who stealths them, but because having the vocabulary and means to discuss more forms of gender violence will be helpful in both preventing the acts and recovering from them. 

“The law isn’t the answer for everyone, and it can’t fix every problem every time,” Brodsky said. “One of my goals with the article, and in proposing a new statute, is to provide a vocabulary and create ways for people to talk about what is a really common experience that just is too often dismissed as just ‘bad sex’ instead of ‘violence.’”

Head over to the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law for the whole study. 

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054 for the National Dating Abuse Helpline.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Sessions: I’m NOT apologizing for my Hawaii comments

Apparently liberals are getting into a huff over Sessions suggesting how absurd it was that a single district judge in Hawaii could halt a presidential order that even the AG believes is . . .

‘Unforgettable’ Will Actually Make You Like Katherine Heigl Again

A vape-smoking Katherine Heigl lounges in her character’s signature skintight dress as she plots the destruction of her ex-husband’s fiancée by way of social media. No, that’s not a scene from Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy” dream diary circa 2004. It’s an instantly iconic moment from the new thriller “Unforgettable,” which hits theaters Friday.  

Critics have already descended upon Heigl’s latest starring vehicle, calling it “sexist swamp” and swinging softballs at it’s easy target of a title. The film currently holds a paltry 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and will likely drop even further the way the tide is turning. Is “Unforgettable” the film to mention in conversation about representational wins at your next dinner party? Nope. Is it essentially a rehashing of “Obsessed” without Beyoncé’s exceptional line delivery of “I’mma wipe the floor with yo skinny ass”? Pretty much. 

But dismissing the movie as reductive trash does a disservice to what turns “Unforgettable” from another throwaway Lifetime movie with a budget into a pure unadulterated campfest: Katherine “I need juicy, dramatic, emotional material” Heigl. 

In her finest performance outside pretending Gerard Butler was the slightest bit attractive in “The Ugly Truth,” Heigl easily steals every scene. As Tessa, the scorned ex-wife of David (Geoff Stults) who’s moved on with Julia (Rosario Dawson), she schemes her way into your heart with every eyebrow arch and psycho side-eye. Tessa and Julia exchange bitchy threats, fight and one prevails. And it’s entirely satisfying because “Unforgettable” knows exactly what it’s doing and why you came to see it.  

Armed with the mental stability of someone who’s marathoned “Fatal Attraction” and “Basic Instinct” back to back, Heigl’s Tessa is deliciously unhinged. With a chic wardrobe and icy blond locks that could best be described as Ivanka Trump-esque, she spends most of movie staring at her reflection in a vanity mirror. Or she’s messaging Julia’s violent ex, who plays a key role in the film’s effective, but ultimately shoddy finish.

Tessa is so keen on her rival’s demise that she literally gets off (in a silk robe, duh) orchestrating a nasty revenge scheme that puts Julia face to face with her abuser. Most of these scenes are filmed solo and with little dialogue, as she slips deeper into delusion. A crazy-beyond-saving Heigl milks every moment. 

Considering how Hollywood and our culture at large have been quick to brand the actress as a villain IRL for being outspoken and reportedly “difficult” on set, there’s something incredibly gratifying seeing her lean in on screen here. Despite this reputation, the actress has predominantly played characters to root for, be it the sunny Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy” or her seemingly endless and interchangeable rom-com heroines.

Here, although our sympathies lie with Dawson ― who does her best with the sketchy outline of a character ― it’s Heigl’s Tessa who walks away with the movie. The audience sides with (and even claps for, in my screening) her character because it’s clear how much fun Heigl is having with a part that doesn’t require her to be infinitely likable. 

When the the two do eventually come to blows, “Unforgettable” elevates the requisite catfight into something slightly more interesting than expected. Whereas “Obsessed” dropped a chandelier on Ali Larter in Beyoncé’s tasteful Los Angeles mansion, here, the “psycho chick” trope is peeled back a layer. Tessa is simply a product of her upbringing and responsible for her own demise, infusing the film with an inner depth that the genre rarely affords.

Seeing Heigl embrace playing a complex villain feels like the ultimate middle finger to those who cast her aside. “Unforgettable” isn’t expected to rake it in at the box office this weekend, but it could mark a turning point for Heigl’s career after a series of failed television projects and big-budget flops. If she can get us to cheer for a character as deliciously disturbed as Tessa, then maybe the world will finally come to its senses and cheer along Heigl once again. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

FS1’s Cowherd: Tebow ‘Doesn’t Deserve to Play Major League Baseball’


During his Friday Fox Sports Radio show “The Herd,” Colin Cowherd ripped Tim Tebow’s decision to play baseball after 10 years of focusing on football in college and the NFL. Cowherd said he’s rooting against Tebow to make a major league roster because he does not want to see someone make it without putting in the work. “Why would we root for Tebow to be able to just step into baseball, which he didn’t play for 10 years, and excel?” Cowherd asked. “He’s a crappy Single-A player, and that’s great because what it shows you, Michael Jordan was a crappy AA player, is you can’t just mail it in.” He went on to note how people in other professions put in the time and effort to become good at their jobs. “I’m rooting against Tim Tebow to walk into baseball and flourish, and I rooted against Michael Jordan to walk into baseball and flourish. They’ve both been exposed as dreamers and lousy once they got out of their lane,” Cowherd continued. Cowherd then accused Tebow of not working hard enough and being “not willing to take the steps to be great” because he refused to play in the Canadian Football

FS1’s Cowherd: Tebow ‘Doesn’t Deserve to Play Major League Baseball’


During his Friday Fox Sports Radio show “The Herd,” Colin Cowherd ripped Tim Tebow’s decision to play baseball after 10 years of focusing on football in college and the NFL. Cowherd said he’s rooting against Tebow to make a major league roster because he does not want to see someone make it without putting in the work. “Why would we root for Tebow to be able to just step into baseball, which he didn’t play for 10 years, and excel?” Cowherd asked. “He’s a crappy Single-A player, and that’s great because what it shows you, Michael Jordan was a crappy AA player, is you can’t just mail it in.” He went on to note how people in other professions put in the time and effort to become good at their jobs. “I’m rooting against Tim Tebow to walk into baseball and flourish, and I rooted against Michael Jordan to walk into baseball and flourish. They’ve both been exposed as dreamers and lousy once they got out of their lane,” Cowherd continued. Cowherd then accused Tebow of not working hard enough and being “not willing to take the steps to be great” because he refused to play in the Canadian Football

Hilary spotted with ex

Ivanka to donate royalties