White House again criticizes FBI director for voting remarks

FBI Director Christopher Wray was the target of White House criticism for the second time in a week Friday as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows criticized remarks he made a day earlier to Congress about voter fraud

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Christopher Wray was the target of White House criticism for the second time in a week Friday as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows chided him over remarks made a day earlier to Congress about voter fraud.

Meadows suggested in an interview with CBS that Wray was ill-informed when he told the Senate that there has not been any significant coordinated national voter fraud.

Meadows was critical in his CBS interview of the director, tying his remarks on voter fraud to a probe of the FBI’s handling of Russian links to the Trump campaign. The president and his allies have denounced the investigation, which a watchdog has said was flawed but legitimate overall.

“Well, with all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding e-mails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of voter fraud.”

He then suggested that Wray needed more information about the allegations of voter fraud that have surfaced in several places.

“Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and then he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said.

It was unusually pointed criticism of an FBI director, especially one who was appointed by Trump.

In his testimony to the Senate Homeland Security committee on Thursday, Wray said the FBI takes “all election-related threats seriously,” including voter fraud or voter suppression.

But in response to a question from Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the FBI director said the agency has not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, at least not to date.

“Now, we have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,” he said. “We have seen voter fraud at the local level from time to time.”

It was the kind of nuanced answer that riled Trump last week when Wray was asked at a House hearing by lawmakers

Trillium Beer Garden reopening on Greenway

The Trillium Garden on The Greenway in Boston is reopening this weekend, but it will look very different than in previous years.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Summer beer garden

Summer beer garden

Trillium says they’re offering a 100% contactless ordering for food and beer, social distancing and cleanliness protocols. Tables will be spaced a minimum 6 feet apart and party sizes are limited to six.

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Under current state and municipal regulations, customers are required to order food from one of the on-site Greenway food trucks.

The beer garden will be open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6p.m., weather permitting.

Reservations can be made up to seven days in advance via resy.com.


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Court revives House’s challenge of Trump wall funding

A federal appeals court on Friday revived a House challenge of President Donald Trump’s use of Defense Department money to build a border wall after Democrats refused to provide funding he requested

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the House Democrats’ lawsuit. The appeals panel found the House had been wrongly cut out of its “constitutionally indispensable legislative role” when Trump unilaterally moved about $8 billion to border wall construction.

Congress’ power to appropriate spending “is a core structural protection of the Constitution — a wall, so to speak, between the branches of government that prevents encroachment of the House’s and Senate’s power of the purse,” the panel wrote.

The case now returns to the court of U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, who had initially ruled that Congress lacked the authority to sue in April 2019.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

House Democrats sued three months after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, triggered by Trump’s demand for border wall funding.

The president later signed a funding bill that included $1.4 billion for border barriers, short of the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress. But he then declared a national emergency to secure billions more in funding denied by Democrats controlling the House, in part by taking money for military housing and counterdrug programs.

The move triggered several legal challenges, including the one by House Democrats. Another appeals court ruled in June against the transfer of money from military construction projects. But the U.S. Supreme Court in July declined to order wall construction stopped while the case continued. The high court’s four liberal justices dissented. One of those four, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Sept. 18.

The three-judge panel consisted of Senior Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle, nominated to the court by former President Ronald Reagan, and two nominees of former President Barack Obama: Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.

Building a border wall was one of Trump’s signature campaign pledges four years ago, though he promised then that Mexico would pay for the wall.

The U.S. Border Patrol says it has completed 321 miles (517 kilometers) of wall during the Trump administration, though almost all of that is replacing existing barriers.

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Trillium beer garden reopens on The Greenway, with a few new guidelines

It may be fall, but the chance to have a beer outdoors on the Greenway isn’t over yet.

The Trillium Brewing Company beer garden has set up shop on the Rose Kennedy Greenway for the fourth year in a row, starting Friday at noon. Under pandemic-era guidelines, Trillium Garden on The Greenway will require advance online reservations, contactless ordering, and strict social distancing protocols. Customers must also purchase food from nearby trucks — like Zaaki, Pennypacker, and Bon Me — alongside their drink order in accordance with state guidelines.

“Since we first opened the Trillium Garden, my summer in Boston isn’t complete without beers under the sun in our special home on The Greenway,” Trillium Brewing co-founder Esther Tetreault said in a statement. “While opening later than we would have liked, watching the seasons change in the heart of our city will be a great way to extend the summer outdoors and transition into a classic New England autumn.”

The garden now brews a small batch of beers onsite at the intersection of High Street and Atlantic Avenue. This will include special season releases for the Greenway location.

“Brewing and creative inspiration is at the heart of everything we do,” Tetreault said. “Collaborating with our friends at the Greenway Conservancy, in concert with state and local agencies, has allowed us to bring the beer garden concept to the next level, providing our guests a special, sustainable experience.”

Trillium Garden will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays, weather permitting. Reservations for parties up to six people can be made up to seven days in advance through www.resy.com.

City Winery on the Greenway, at Dewey Square, closes for the season on Sunday.

The Trillium Brewing Company locations in Fenway and Fort Point are open during normal hours. City Winery on the Greenway, at Dewey Square, closes for the season on Sunday.

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.

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Court sides with House Democrats in challenge to Trump’s border wall spending

The Constitution gives Congress spending authority, the court said, and it “requires two keys to unlock the Treasury, and the House holds one of those keys. The Executive Branch has, in a word, snatched the House’s key out of its hands,” according to the opinion from Judge David B. Sentelle, who was joined by Judges Patricia A. Millett and Robert L. Wilkins.

House Democrats went to court claiming Trump violated the Constitution by ignoring congressional spending limits and diverting more than $6 billion allocated for other purposes to fund the wall at the border with Mexico. The administration invoked statutes it said allowed the president to repurpose appropriations.

The D.C. Circuit panel on Friday said the Trump administration had essentially cut the House out of the appropriations process “rendering for naught” its vote to withhold border wall funding. The judges also rejected the Justice Department’s argument that the House cannot go to court to protect its interests without consent of the Senate.

“The ironclad constitutional rule is that the Executive Branch cannot spend until both the House and the Senate say so,” according to Sentelle’s opinion. “Unlike the affirmative power to pass legislation, the House can wield its appropriations veto fully and effectively all by itself, without any coordination with or cooperation from the Senate.”

Sentelle was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Millett and Wilkins were nominated by President Barack Obama.

In August, the full D.C. Circuit held that a single house of Congress did have standing to pursue litigation against the administration and sent the case back to the three-judge panel to consider other aspects of the administration’s challenge to the House’s claims.

The three-judge panel was reviewing a 2019 decision from District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump nominee, who held that the House lacked legal grounds or standing to bring the lawsuit.

The ruling Friday is unlikely to be the final word in the controversy. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The Kitchen Easy Pod: A Microwave Vegetable Steamer, Poacher & Roaster In One – Press Release

Cestari, an innovative kitchen products designer based in Littleton, MA, is pleased to announce that customers may now purchase their Kitchen Easy Pod online. This pod, which can be used as a microwave vegetable steamer (among many other uses), is available on multiple platforms, including Amazon as well as Cestari’s own website, making it as convenient to obtain as it is to use.

While referring to it as a vegetable steamer may imply that it should strictly be used for vegetables, anyone with a little bit of experience making family meals will know every product has its hidden uses, and Cestari’s little pod is no different. It does, as the company is proud to demonstrate, cook vegetables quite well, but it can also be used to poach fish and chicken.

Fans of the quick-and-simple meal will want to know if this includes making omelets or reheating leftovers; Cestari is pleased to share that this is indeed the case. They expect it to be used most often for vegetables but they also encourage their loyal customers to experiment as they see fit. For instance, they call attention to the fact that the Cestari Kitchen Easy Pod boasts a non-stick surface. This opens up the possibilities for what family-favorite meals can be created with it, and Cestari suggests that new users try roasted potatoes if they want to see how easily such foods come out for themselves. Certain kitchens may have more stringent standards to go over before they give a new tool a pass, but the company is confident their steamer will stand up to any reasonable test.

The steamer can be used in one of two main configurations at any time: as a pod or unfolded into a bowl. In its pod configuration, Cestari explains that it can be used to substitute out parchment paper or foil for moist heat cooking (this makes it excellent for use in oven recipes). Its uses as a bowl are far more obvious — it can take the place of virtually any container on the table, holding salad, sauce, rice or anything else that may catch the user’s fancy. Here, Cestari reminds their community to make sure the bottom is clean of any residue if the steamer was used to cook anything immediately prior to its function as a serving dish, but that should be the biggest problem they face (if any). Its soothing green color also makes it the perfect backdrop for many dishes and family dining room environments.

The microwave vegetable steamer does have one secret use, however. Should it be rolled up at one end, its flexible yet firm nature means that it can be used as a funnel to collect cooking juices for a sauce or gravy. There are probably many other uses that the pod can be put to, and Cestari is always eager to hear back from customers who discover new possibilities.

Finally, those who are careful about their purchases will be pleased to learn that Cestari has

ECA’s interior design students imagine cultural centres for Edinburgh

In this school show, Edinburgh College of Art students are presenting 10 interiors projects for public and community spaces, from an archive chronicling Scotland’s black diaspora to a hybrid day and nightclub.

Created by a mixture of graduate and undergraduate students, the concepts adapt existing and historical buildings in Edinburgh for new uses, in a bid to create interiors that are sensitive to their context.

University: Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
Courses: BA and MA Interior Design
Tutors: Ed Hollis, Rachel Simmonds, Gillian Treacy and Andy Siddall

School statement:

“The interior design programmes at ECA use real buildings and spaces as testbeds for the adaption and evolution of interior, architectural and spatial design ideas. Under the Interior Lab initiative, staff and students share research knowledge to develop their own individual response to the discipline, benefitting from the international cohort’s varied experiences and approaches.

“Further work of the students can be found at ECA’s digital exhibition Summer 2020.

“Through self-generated briefs for their projects, our 10 graduates have proposed designs including an Astronomy Centre within a light-polluted city centre and a Black Cultural Archive and Legacy Centre for Scotland.”

ECA's interior design students imagine cultural centres for Edinburgh

The Island of Knowledge by Alkistis Brountzou, MA

“The Island of Knowledge is an open, public space inside the Freemasons Hall for sharing knowledge and learning, which explores the spatial intersections of the physical and the digital world.

“Inside the main hall, or ‘nest’, new hybrid experiences are generated by utilising new technologies such as augmented reality inside of an expanded cinema, various multilayered exhibitions and lecture halls.

“The intervention’s form emphatically symbolises the contradiction between the diachronic character of the space formations and the extremely changeable digital content, suggesting that the physical and digital, materiality and immateriality are interwoven by their contradictions.”

Email: brountzoualk@gmail.com

Freemasons Hall by Gillian Kavanagh, MA

“My master’s thesis focuses on the intersection between interior architecture and conservation. The design briefs I devised for the Freemasons Hall in Edinburgh challenge the idea of a historic institution in the modern world and question how interiors can be ‘re-programmed’ to revitalise the institution’s appeal.

“To represent these ideas, I explored experimental mixed media drawing methods including collage, watercolour sketching and video studies. Adaptive conservation aids the longevity of buildings, which is the principal ambition of my work. The layering of materials, decoration and human narratives significantly influences my approach to the conservation of interior architecture.”

Email: gilliankavanagh54@gmail.com
Instagram: @gk_trinsic

ECA's interior design students imagine cultural centres for Edinburgh

Viaticus by Mari Nasif, MA

“Inspired by the idea of Masonic degrees, the brief re-imagines the Freemasons’ journey towards knowledge and translates this into spatial settings based on the learning domains proposed by Benjamin Bloom.

“The proposal, broadly defined as a philosophy library, occupies the voids inside of an existing staircase volume. Its verticality mirrors Bloom’s hierarchical learning model where higher levels house more complex learning. Each degree is uniquely designed to activate the senses and help individuals resolve the cognitive challenges along the journey to mastery.”

Email: mari_nasif@outlook.com
Website: marinasif.com

Pixelbox by Sher Ming Foo, MA


Instead of Couples Counseling, Try an Interior Designer

The biggest fight I ever saw my parents have was when my mom threw out my dad’s beloved brown leather recliner. It was torn and worn and, well, brown, and she was an interior designer who just couldn’t take it anymore. My dad was livid, but my mom knew he would never agree to part with the chair unless she torched it or clandestinely paid someone to haul it away, so she did what she had to do. 

For better or worse, her shady tactics have rubbed off on me. Like many couples, I struggle to compromise when it comes to design, mainly because my husband’s style can best be described as brown, wood, and leather (with a dash of hoarder), which clashes with my need for light, bright, and uncluttered. When I heard Love It Or List It designer Hilary Farr question why a guy on the show loved the dark brown wood aesthetic so much, I felt her exasperation deep in my core. I immediately turned to my husband and told him that if we buy a house, we are hiring a designer to save our marriage. He complains about the price of $14 cocktails and $1.50 avocados, but he didn’t protest this potential splurge.

“I often see territorial battles,” says Manhattan-based therapist Jean Fitzpatrick, who has counseled couples not just about their deep-seated marriage issues, but also about their design clashes. “People refuse to accept that they and their partner are different.”

When those differences manifest in the shape of a microsuede recliner imprinted with a giant Dallas Cowboys star, a fuchsia loveseat, or a metal owl “sculpture” that would scare small children and discerning adults, it’s tough to look the other way.

New York–based luxury interior designer Charlie Ferrer says he often feels like a mediator and psychologist when he’s working with clients. A typical example was when a wife was “drinking the Kool-Aid” and agreeing with Ferrer’s sophisticated choices, but the husband, who had been hands-off, suddenly stepped in with strong opinions about seating. “He got obsessive and obstructionist,” Ferrer says. 

Instead of battling the husband, Ferrer helped the couple come together by agreeing to work with a chair that was “between appalling and OK,” and then re-covering the back in leather and alpaca until it looked like a $10K chair. “It was a triumph,” Ferrer says.

Texas-based interior designer Veronica Solomon says she’s also part designer, part therapist, and she knows better than to let one partner steer the ship. “I pull them both in from the beginning,” she says. 

Talking to other couples about their design clashes made me feel a little better about my own battles with my husband’s taste (although I did make him ditch that scary metal owl). Whether you struggle with your partner’s collection of 43 potted plants or their predilection for macramé, even the most harmonious couples can come to psychological blows when it comes to design.

Natalie Gutierrez, a Northern California–based chef and mom of

NEW Episode of The 1600 Sessions: White House Transitions

NEW Episode of The 1600 Sessions: White House Transitions

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2020

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The White House Historical Association has released a special episode of The 1600 Sessions podcast, “White House Transitions.” In this episode, Association President Stewart McLaurin speaks with Tina Tchen and Martha Kumar about the history and evolution of presidential transitions.

The White House Historical Association Logo (PRNewsfoto/The White House Historical ...)
The White House Historical Association Logo (PRNewsfoto/The White House Historical …)

Tina Tchen previously served as chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, executive director of President Obama’s Council on Women and Girls and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Martha Kumar, a professor at Towson University and an award-winning author, is the director of the White House Transition Project, which documents and guides administrations on how to conduct the presidential transition process.

Both Tchen and Kumar are on the Board of Directors of the White House Historical Association.  

Listen to the full episode here.

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit The1600Sessions.org.

About The White House Historical Association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the White House Historical Association has contributed more than $50 million in fulfillment of its mission. To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit www.whitehousehistory.org. 


View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-episode-of-the-1600-sessions-white-house-transitions-301137961.html

SOURCE The White House Historical Association

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The new Rose Garden is designed for a monarch.

A view of the recently renovated Rose Garden at the White House
The renovated Rose Garden.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the patriarchal establishment that is the White House, care of the Rose Garden has long been entrusted to the lady of the house. Originally installed by Edith Roosevelt (wife of Theodore), the garden was redesigned by Ellen Axson Wilson and given its modern look by Jacqueline Kennedy. So it should not have come as a surprise when earlier this summer the White House announced that our current first lady, Melania Trump, would put her own personal stamp on the garden.

But when the revamped Rose Garden was opened to news media on Saturday, there was little in the new design to suggest a feminine touch. The exuberant flower beds, bursting with colors, were replaced by disciplined rows of green bushes interspersed with roses in muted pastels; the crab apple trees that had given both color and shade had been uprooted and removed, the central lawn now framed on three sides by a rigid rectangular limestone path. One of the White House’s most human enclosures had been replaced by a severe geometrical space of right angles and straight lines, all converging on the Oval Office—the seat of national power.

It’s hard to say how much Melania actually had to do with turning the Rose Garden into an advertisement for her husband’s vision of an imperial presidency. She may have been the driving force, even if the symbolism of the changes is so on-the-nose it could’ve been concocted by Republican strategists preparing for their national convention. What is clear is that the garden’s true designers were neither Melania nor anyone else working in the White House, but two men, both of them long dead: the master gardener André Le Nôtre and his patron, King Louis XIV.

For more than 40 years, beginning in 1661, Le Nôtre labored to create at Versailles the grandest and most imposing royal garden the world had ever seen. By the time of his death the grounds had become a geometrical world of precise angles, symmetry, and straight open avenues, all converging on the royal palace on the hill, and the king’s bedchamber at its heart. At Versailles, nothing was hidden from the king’s gaze, and his power reached instantly and unopposed to every corner of the land. It was an emblem of Louis’ ideal of royal absolutism, impressing both his subjects and foreign visitors with the Sun King’s unlimited power.

Despite its royal roots, a formal geometrical garden is hardly out of place in D.C. The city’s designer, after all, was a Frenchman, Pierre L’Enfant, who had learned his craft in the gardens of Louis XIV’s successors and imprinted the American capital with their feel and power. The National Mall, for example, with its broad straight avenues converging symmetrically on Capitol Hill, is resonant with echoes of Versailles. It is therefore no surprise that the Rose Garden, too, spreading out in front of the West Wing, has from the beginning incorporated formal elements in the French style.

Bill Clinton walks with Vicente Fox through the White House Rose Garden.
President Bill