Sen. Al Franken Accused of Forcibly Groping Radio Host Leeann Tweeden

Al Franken, Democratic senator from Minnesota and a former comedian, admitted groping radio host Leeann Tweeden who wrote of her experience at his hands for 790 KABC. He apologized to Tweeden and invited the Senate to place him under investigation, but claimed no recollection of her more serious claim: that he forced a kiss on her during rehearsals for the 2006 USO Tour performance.


Don’t miss: ‘Brain Candy Live’ with Adam Savage (Tested, Mythbusters) & Michael Stevens (Vsauce)

Longtime Boing Boing friend Adam Savage is best known as the guy behind and the co-star of TV's beloved 'Mythbusters.' He's also a Boing Boing TV guest and fellow nerd traveler we've admired since our 'zine days.

Adam is teaming up with YouTube star Michael Stevens (Vsauce) for 'Brain Candy,' a live touring explodey sciencey show that promises “crazy toys, incredible tools and mind-blowing demonstrations for a celebration of curiosity that’s an interactive, hands-on, minds-on theatrical experience like no other.”


Russia-linked political Facebook ads and Twitter accounts released by House Intel Committee

House Democrats just released a trove of data, metadata, Facebook ads, and Twitter accounts run out of the Kremlin’s troll farm. A team of reporters at Daily Beast reports on how ads were created by people working for the Russian government's cyberwar arm, and literally paid for in rubles with no questions asked by Facebook.

Yep, even of those Dank Bernie Memes you shared were Russian.

Russian ads like the ones shown here came from...

...dozens of inflammatory Facebook and Twitter ads from Kremlin-backed fake social media accounts, including several The Daily Beast has already identified, with names like “Being Patriotic,” “Secured Borders,” and “United Muslims of America.” They were released on Wednesday, along with accompanying metadata showing their Russian provenance, not by the companies themselves, but by Democrats on the House intelligence community investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Taken together, the ads and the metadata provide a deeper picture than previously known of one aspect of Russia’s so-called “active measures” disinformation campaign. Hundreds of millions of Americans – nearly 150 million, Facebook acknowledged on Wednesday – didn’t realize online political material they were seeing and sharing came from a foreign adversary. But the Russians, capitalizing on social-media targeting tools made possible by accumulated data from billions of users, knew a tremendous amount about their unsuspecting American audience.

“Russia exploited real vulnerabilities that exist across online platforms and we must identify, expose, and defend ourselves against similar covert influence operations in the future,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said during a hearing on Wednesday with executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google.

And don't forget Instagram! Russian content appeared there, and may too have influenced voting choices.

Facebook: 126 million Americans may have seen Russian pro-Trump propaganda

Facebook is reported to soon reveal it exposed an estimated 126 million Americans, many of whom voted, to what was effectively Russian state propaganda (served from Russian webservers in Russia) during the runup to the U.S. 2016 presidential election. All of that content favored Trump, who is now President of the United States.


University of Hawaii’s creepy email subject line to students: "In the event of a nuclear attack"

University of Hawaii sent an email to their students yesterday that had a horrific subject line: "In the event of a nuclear attack." This is in reference to North Korea's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which experts believe have the capability to reach Hawaii and Alaska.

The email itself was not much brighter. Part of it read: "In light of concerns about North Korea missile tests, state and federal agencies are providing information about nuclear threats and what to do in the unlikely event of a nuclear attack and radiation emergency." At least students could be comforted by the word "unlikely."

The email "also told students and faculty to be aware of emergency sirens and to follow instructions on 'sheltering in place,'" says CBS News.

According to CBS:

The email comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the U.S. On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the army "must stand ready" in the face of continued provocations by the North Korean regime.

In July, Hawaii became the first state to announce a public campaign urging those living there to prepare for a nuclear attack...

Every time North Korea fires a missile, the regime gets one step closer to reaching the Hawaiian Islands...

Once launched, a nuclear missile from North Korea would take less than 20 minutes to hit Honolulu.

Image: Vreed

Melania doesn’t get Ivana’s "first lady" joke and refers to her as "attention-seeking"

When Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, laughed in an interview today that she was "first lady," referring to the fact that she was his "first wife," Melania Trump seemed to miss the joke.

She immediately responded to CNN, via her communications director Stephanie Grisham, to make sure it was clear to everyone that she, and not Ivana, is the official first lady:

"Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the President. She loves living in Washington, DC, and is honored by her role as first lady of the United States. She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books... There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise."

Not only did she miss the silly humor, she responded in the way her husband would – with criticism and sarcasm, referring to Ivana's words as "attention-seeking" and "self-serving noise."

Here's Ivana's interview, promoting her book Raising Trump, with Amy Robach on Good Morning America:

Image: Regine Mahaux

Mike Pence pisses away $200K+ in taxpayer money at staged protest

United States' top toady spent over $200K of taxpayer money flying to a football game he never intended to watch. Just another demonstration that the Trump administration continues to actively try and divide the country over race.

I do not know much about football, but the two things I've come to understand will happen at a San Francisco 49ers game is that a) some players will take a knee and b) the San Francisco 49ers will lose. I've never seen a game. If you go, you expect to see players take a knee. Pence knows this.

What I know is that the players who kneel rather than participate in the National Anthem are doing so to protest the incredible injustice suffered by black Americans on a daily basis. The US method of policing appears focused on killing them out of hand. The President and Vice-President of the United States seem bent on turning this protest into something about disrespecting our nation's veterans and service people. These things are not connected. The National Anthem and US Flag symbolize us all, and our freedom to do things like protest police abuse. This entire line of reasoning is smoke and mirrors.

The cost of carting Mr. Pence and his entourage to Indianapolis, so the VP could not attend the game, is estimated by CNN at over $200k. Apparently Pence had the press wait in the bus, because he didn't intend to stay at the game very long and had already planned a fundraiser in California that taxpayers had to pay to fly them all back to.

More poorly staged than dinner theater.

Via TPM:

Mike Pence travelled to Indianapolis today to watch the Colts play the San Francisco 49ers with the pretty clear knowledge that at least some 49ers players would take a knee in silent protest during the national anthem. (The 49ers are Colin Kaepernick’s old team.) After some did, Pence made a great show of walking out on the game and tweeting out his outrage at the players and commitment to the flag, America, the anthem, soldiers and unity.

The Vice President’s press office followed up with this statement …

"I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem."

The pretty transparent upshot of all this was that the White House feels it needs to keep the ‘ungrateful black players won’t honor our flag or our military’ storyline going for yet another week. (Pence flew last night from Las Vegas to Indianapolis for this and is about to fly back to California for a fundraiser, a whole almost cross country trip just to make this stunt possible.) It is conspicuous how Pence preaches the need for national unity while he and the White House continue transparently to exploit what they believe is the political value of heightening division.

But even here, Trump couldn’t help but jumping in to make clear that he told Pence to do this, relishing stamping Pence as the toady he no doubt is.