House Democrats seek to block funds for ‘defeat despair’ Covid ads

House Democrats overseeing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response will introduce a largely symbolic bill intended to limit the administration’s ability to spend federal funds on certain coronavirus-related advertisements before the election, according to a draft shared first with POLITICO.

The Defeat Pandemic Propaganda Act of 2020 is authored by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), joined by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). The Democrats’ bill would bar HHS from using taxpayer funds on an ad campaign to “positively influence public perception regarding the Covid–19 pandemic,” specifically distort any facts or encourage risky behaviors amid the outbreak.

“[F]ederally-funded advertisements meant to cast the situation in a positive light or suggest there is no longer a need to take public health precautions would be wholly unethical, especially in the weeks before a presidential election,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. A spokesperson for Krishnamoorthi acknowledged the difficulty of moving such legislation forward in a split Congress weeks before the election.

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The Block 2020 recap: Kitchen reveals

The Block judges were on a high this week, praising all five teams for some phenomenal kitchen design. Did I drink the Kool Aid? No. Were there some issues to discuss? Most definitely. Install some under-bench power points and let’s get into it.

DANIEL AND JADE CAME FIRST

Daniel and Jade scraped into first place this week with the help of the gnome, delivering a kitchen that featured a curved island with fluted joinery. The estate agent claimed the island looked like a penis, to which I say: Please see a GP immediately if yours resembles this.

Outside of that creepy moment, I’ve gotta say I’m not as smitten with the island as much as the judges were. The thin profile of the countertop stone looks cheap, and if you stood inside the kitchen, where the joinery is not present, everything reads as the same colour.

Sliding windows near the cooktop seems like an odd (and dangerous) choice, as is the oven placement in what will be a high-traffic walkway. Overall this kitchen reminds me of a 1997 Shania Twain: That Don’t Impress Me Much.

HARRY AND TASH CAME JOINT SECOND

Harry and Tash unveiled a luxurious kitchen, don’t get me wrong. It feels far more impressive and high-end than Daniel and Jade’s, so I don’t take that away from them. But it’s minimal. Borderline too minimal. Something about it also reads as a kitchen in a corporate office. I feel like my boss is going to walk in at any moment and tell me to have the Mackenzie file on their desk by COB.

Where are some wow-factor pendant lights? Where is the focal point in this space? Like anyone after eating Lean Cuisine, I’m hungry for something else.

The flooring and cabinetry is too close in colour, and it has resulted in a really warm-feeling zone. The strip lighting only added additional heat. Someone pass me a frozen Coke and some SPF sunscreen. Overall it’s nice, but missing something special.

JIMMY AND TAM CAME JOINT SECOND

Jimmy and Tam showed restraint in their kitchen design this week. After seeing their bathrooms I was worried about where they’d go with the hub of the home, but it’s actually not bad.

The green cabinets have to go though. It’s yet another room with an off-putting colour. We have turquoise, hot pink, peach and now mint green. Sure, hallways don’t sell houses, but neither do mushy pea cabinets. And pairing them with gold handles is a crime worthy of its own six-part Netflix documentary.

The space felt light and bright, spacious and contemporary. They just need to calm down the colour and think more about the market they’re selling in. And remove those cat-bum stools. The puckering is seriously disturbing.

SARAH AND GEORGE LANDED JOINT THIRD

Sarah and George’s kitchen deserved the win this week. The island alone is giving me a serious case of objectophilia. I would have done more than hug it except I don’t like to touch anything

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The Block stars Jimmy and Tam defend decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE during kitchen week

The Block stars Jimmy and Tam defend decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE during kitchen week

The Block’s Jimmy and Tam spent a whopping $5000 on high-end wine to hopefully tempt prospective buyers come auction day.

On Wednesday’s episode, bar manager Tam, 31, shocked foreman Dan by announcing that she’d splashed the large amount of cash on the luxury booze.

Speaking to 9Entertainment, Tam explained why the wine will only add further value to their $200,000 kitchen.

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The Block stars Jimmy and Tam (pictured) have defended their decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE to hopefully tempt prospective buyers come auction day

The Block stars Jimmy and Tam (pictured) have defended their decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE to hopefully tempt prospective buyers come auction day

Judge Shaynna Blake initially suggested Tam invest in a rare art piece for their house as a ‘game changer’ for auction day, but Tam instead spent $5000 on rare wines for their state-of-the-art bar fridge.

‘I knew we had this amazing Gaggenau wine fridge and I wanted something that was pretty high end to go in the fridge to meet the standards,’ she said.

‘The wine that has been selected, it’s actually from the most prestigious real estate areas around the world,’ explained Tam, adding: ‘Anyone who knows wine, when they see what’s in the wine selection, they’re blown away.’ 

'Anyone who knows wine will be blown away': Speaking to 9Entertainment , Tam claimed the wine will only add further value to their $200,000 kitchen

‘Anyone who knows wine will be blown away’: Speaking to 9Entertainment , Tam claimed the wine will only add further value to their $200,000 kitchen

Bold move: Judge Shaynna Blake (pictured) suggested Tam invest in a rare art piece for their house as a 'game changer' for auction day, but Tam instead spent $5000 on rare wines

Bold move: Judge Shaynna Blake (pictured) suggested Tam invest in a rare art piece for their house as a ‘game changer’ for auction day, but Tam instead spent $5000 on rare wines

Tam claims the wine is both a luxury good and an investment for whoever decided to purchase the finished Block property at auction.

She believes the curated wine that was purchased during filming will appreciate by 10 per cent each year.  

There are 55 bottles of wine in the collection, with the most expensive in the assortment being a $278 Massolino Barolo MAGNUM 2015.

‘It’s [the bar fridge] actually got three different sections in it. There’s a white wine, a red wine and a champagne. So each section can run at different temperatures and the temperature is perfect for that sort of wine, which is next level,’ said Tam.   

INSIDE JIMMY AND TAM’S $5000 WINE FRIDGE ON THE BLOCK

Henschke Mt Edelston Shiraz 2010* ($180.00 ea.) x 2 | $360.00

Henri Boillot Bourgogne Blanc 2018* ($56.00 ea.) x 6 | $336.00

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1996* ($150.00 ea.) x 2 | $300.00

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1998* ($145.00 ea.) x 2 | $290.00

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2005* ($105.00 ea) x 2 | $210.00

Massolino Barolo 2015* ($80.00 ea.) x 7 | $560.00

Mount Mary Chardonnay* ($88.00 ea.) x 6 | $528.00

Duplessis AC Chablis 2018* ($50.00 ea.) x 6 | $300.00

Donhoff GG Riesling* ($110.00 ea.) x 3 | $330.00

Donnhoff Tonschiefer Reisling 2016* ($40.00

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White House aides tried to block Bolton book, court is told

An aide to Trump also “instructed her to temporarily withhold any response” to a request from Bolton to review a chapter on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine so it could be released during the impeachment trial, wrote Knight’s lawyer, Kenneth L. Wainstein.

Wainstein said that his client had determined in April that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” no longer contained any classified information, but the “apolitical process” was then “commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose” to go after Bolton. The actions she was asked to take were “unprecedented in her experience,” the letter said.

Knight said that political appointees repeatedly asked her to sign a declaration to use against Bolton that made a range of false assertions. She said that after her refusal, she was reassigned from the White House despite earlier expectations that she would transition to a permanent position there.

“She had never previously been asked to take the above-described measures, and she has never heard that predecessors in her position ever received such instructions in the course of their prepublication reviews,” the letter said.

Representatives for the National Security Council and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Bolton, Charles J. Cooper, declined to comment on the specifics of the letter but said that his client had not asked Knight to disclose her account of events and that he had received a copy of the letter unexpectedly Tuesday evening.

The filing was an extraordinary twist in the legal saga surrounding Bolton’s book. The Trump administration unsuccessfully sought to block distribution of the book earlier this year after it was already printed, claiming despite Knight’s assessment that it contained large amounts of classified information. It is moving to seize his $2 million advance and has opened a criminal investigation, threatening criminal charges for unauthorized disclosures of secrets.

But the letter called into question the premise of all of those efforts — that the book, in its published form, contains any classified information.

Knight’s account is also the latest in a series of disclosures by current and former executive branch officials as the election nears accusing the president and his political appointees of putting his personal and political goals ahead of the public interest and an evenhanded application of the rule of law.

Wainstein recounted a series of irregularities that he said were unlike any other prepublication review that Knight had handled in her two years working at the National Security Council.

Knight, after extensive work with Bolton to change aspects of his draft to eliminate classified information, had told his team informally that it no longer had any unpublishable material. But the White House never sent a formal letter saying the process was over and political appointees in the White House directed Knight not to communicate with them in writing about the book.

In June, as the delay dragged on, Bolton and Simon & Schuster published the book, arguing that Knight’s informal assurance fulfilled the legal commitment

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White House political staff is accused of wrongly intervening to block John Bolton book

White House officials were accused on Wednesday of improperly trying to block former national security adviser John Bolton from releasing his best-selling memoir by falsely claiming it contained classified information.

The accusation was made in a letter filed with a federal court in Washington by a lawyer for former National Security Council (NSC) official Ellen Knight, a career official who oversaw the prepublication review of Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened.”

Knight had by late April cleared the memoir for its planned June 23 publication, only to then see the process “commandeered by political appointees seemingly for a political purpose,” leading to a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to block publication, her lawyer Kenneth Wainstein said in the letter.

Wainstein also wrote that most, if not all, of the government lawyers Knight dealt with on the matter were “not entirely comfortable” with the strategy they were directed to implement toward the Bolton book.

This allegedly included having Michael Ellis, a politically appointed NSC lawyer and former aide to U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, an ally of President Donald Trump, conduct his own prepublication review of Bolton’s book despite lacking relevant training, and declare it still contained classified information.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday’s filing follows published reports that the Department of Justice had opened a criminal probe into whether Bolton illegally disclosed classified information, and that a grand jury had subpoenaed his publisher, Simon & Schuster, and his literary agent.

While the White House was unable to block the release of Bolton’s book, it is still suing to collect royalties and other payments Bolton receives from the book.

Bolton has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer Charles Cooper said in a statement he was assessing how Wainstein’s letter might affect the lawsuit.

“We did not solicit the letter in any way; it came as a complete surprise,” Cooper said.

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White House is accused of wrongly intervening to block John Bolton book

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – White House officials were accused on Wednesday of improperly trying to block former national security adviser John Bolton from releasing his best-selling memoir by falsely claiming it contained classified information.

The accusation was made in a letter filed with a federal court in Washington by a lawyer for former National Security Council (NSC) official Ellen Knight, a career official who oversaw the prepublication review of Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened.”

Knight had by late April cleared the memoir for its planned June 23 publication, only to then see the process “commandeered by political appointees seemingly for a political purpose,” leading to a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to block publication, her lawyer Kenneth Wainstein said in the letter.

Wainstein also wrote that most, if not all, of the government lawyers Knight dealt with on the matter were “not entirely comfortable” with the strategy they were directed to implement toward the Bolton book.

This allegedly included having Michael Ellis, a politically appointed NSC lawyer and former aide to U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, an ally of President Donald Trump, conduct his own prepublication review of Bolton’s book despite lacking relevant training, and declare it still contained classified information.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday’s filing follows published reports that the Department of Justice had opened a criminal probe into whether Bolton illegally disclosed classified information, and that a grand jury had subpoenaed his publisher, Simon & Schuster, and his literary agent.

While the White House was unable to block the release of Bolton’s book, it is still suing to collect royalties and other payments Bolton receives from the book.

Bolton has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer Charles Cooper said in a statement he was assessing how Wainstein’s letter might affect the lawsuit.

“We did not solicit the letter in any way; it came as a complete surprise,” Cooper said.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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The Block Jimmy and Tam’s bathroom was missing one feature but still led them to victory

Can you spot what’s wrong with this Block bathroom? See inside the dreamy pastel pink and gold en suite that lead to Jimmy and Tam’s victory… but there was one thing missing

The Block’s Jimmy and Tam came first for their master en suite on Sunday night.

A dreamy pink and gold bathroom led to the married couple scoring 29 points from the judges, leaving them tied for first with Luke and Jasmin. 

But Jimmy and Tam’s room was missing one feature that all the other contestants included, which almost led to their undoing. 

Can you spot what's wrong with this Block bathroom? See inside the dreamy pastel pink and gold en suite that lead to Jimmy and Tam's victory... but there was one thing missing

Can you spot what’s wrong with this Block bathroom? See inside the dreamy pastel pink and gold en suite that lead to Jimmy and Tam’s victory… but there was one thing missing

Judge Darren Palmer noted that a bathtub was missing during the episode.  

‘That has come because of the size and the floor space they have allocated to this bathroom,’ he said.

But Shaynna Blaze said the bathroom was still sufficient for a couple despite its smaller size.  

‘If we didn’t have the others to compare to, I would say this is absolutely a perfect size for a couple,’ she said. 

‘I, as a buyer, would prefer a big walk-in robe as opposed to a bath in my master en suite because I can have a bath in the other area.’

It's a bathtub! Judge Darren Palmer noted that Jimmy and Tam's bathroom did not have a bathtub, while all of the other master en suites did

It’s a bathtub! Judge Darren Palmer noted that Jimmy and Tam’s bathroom did not have a bathtub, while all of the other master en suites did

Jimmy and Tam included a bath in their upstairs bathroom, so they still have at least one in their build. 

Meanwhile, the en suite featured white terrazzo floor tiles and statement pink wall tiles, which was praised by the judges.    

There was also a gold shower head and tapware, which added a vintage 50s flair.   

‘I’ve got to say the colour palette, which they are using all the way through, is divine,’ Shaynna said.  

Pink is the new pink! The bathroom featured white terrazzo floor tiles and statement pink wall tiles, which was praised by the judges. There was also a gold shower head and tapware, which added a vintage 50s flair

Pink is the new pink! The bathroom featured white terrazzo floor tiles and statement pink wall tiles, which was praised by the judges. There was also a gold shower head and tapware, which added a vintage 50s flair

But Shaynna and co-judge Neale Whitaker were both critical of the lighting in the bathroom, which led to them loosing some points. 

‘The one thing I would mention is the choice of light there, that little sconce is a bit disappointing,’ Neale said.

Meanwhile Shaynna said it was ‘not a good lighting plan’. 

Overall, the positives outweighed the criticisms and the couple were able to take home 29 points and a tied first place position. 

The Block continues on Channel Nine at 7pm on Monday. 

Victory! Overall, the positives outweighed the criticisms, and the couple were able to take home 29 points and a tied first place position

Victory! Overall, the positives outweighed the criticisms, and the couple were able to take home 29 points and a tied first place position

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Outdoor Halloween Decor That Will Make Your House the Scariest Home on the Block



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Trick-Or-Treating might look a little different this year but we’re still going to do our best to dress our house up with spooky outdoor Halloween decor that lets everyone in the neighborhood know that we’re still celebrating the scariest day of the year in a big way.

Whether your Halloween style is gothic or goofy, whether you’re looking for a giant spider web for your yard or some cartoonish inflatables, these outdoor Halloween decor options will inspire you.

Think of it this way: As much as we love trick-or-treaters, this might be the first year when you *don’t* want a bunch of strangers coming to your door, so a truly terrifying Halloween display that wards people off might be a good idea!

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. HSN is a SheKnows sponsor, however, all products in this article were independently selected by our editors. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

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House Democrat offers measures to block Trump’s payroll tax deferral

A House Democrat on Friday introduced two measures in an effort to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpNetanyahu privately condoned US arms sale plan with UAE: report Trump denies report he called U.S. service members buried in France ‘losers’, ‘suckers’ Jim Carrey pens op-ed comparing Trump to Michael Corleone in ‘The Godfather’ MORE‘s initiative to defer payroll taxes.

Rep. John Larson John Barry LarsonSenate Democrats take step toward vote on overturning Trump’s payroll-tax deferral Conservatives urge Trump to take unilateral action to suspend payroll tax collection House Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports MORE (D-Conn.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Social Security subpanel, introduced a bill to nullify IRS guidance implementing the Social Security payroll tax deferral. He also introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the IRS guidance.

Larson introduced the measures along with several other lawmakers, including Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: First Kennedy to lose a Massachusetts election The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Markey defeats Kennedy; Trump lauds America’s enforcers in Wisconsin Neal beats back primary challenge from progressive Alex Morse in Massachusetts MORE (D-Mass.). The House members introduced the measures after Senate Democrats also launched an effort to overturn the guidance, which implements a memo Trump signed last month.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer calls for accountability in Daniel Prude death in Rochester Top Democrats press Trump to sanction Russian individuals over 2020 election interference efforts Fauci says he ‘would not hesitate for a moment’ to take coronavirus vaccine MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Russia ‘amplifying’ concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election | Facebook and Twitter take steps to limit Trump remarks on voting | Facebook to block political ads ahead of election Top Democrats press Trump to sanction Russian individuals over 2020 election interference efforts On The Money: Deficit to reach record .3 trillion | Senate Democrats push to overturn Trump’s payroll-tax deferral | Private sector adds 428K workers in August as job growth slows MORE (D-Ore.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking for a determination about whether the IRS guidance is a rule for purposes of the CRA.

If the government watchdog determines that the guidance is a rule for CRA purposes, Senate Democrats would be able to force a vote on the Senate floor on a resolution to overturn the guidance. But the measure would face an uphill battle given the Republican majority in the chamber.

A spokesperson for Larson said there hasn’t been a response yet from GAO.

Under the IRS guidance, employers can stop withholding employee-side Social Security taxes through the end of the year for workers making under $4,000 biweekly. The money would then be collected by increasing the amount of taxes withheld from workers’ paychecks in the first few months of 2021.

The federal government is

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