Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 leakGame of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram)Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 “The Long Night” aired earlier today and fans from around the world witnessed something extraordinary. The episode was an epitome of drama perfectly blended with all the right emotions.Major spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3:The highly anticipated episode of Game of Thrones began where it ended in the previous episode. All the major characters in the show are ready to fight the biggest battle of their lives including Daenerys Targaryen’s Dothraki army and her army of Unsullied.Ser Jorah Mormont, Bernie of Tarth, Jaime Lannister, and Jon Snow’s Ghost are leading the army from the North and East side of the Westeros.At the very beginning, we see Melisandre coming back to the North as we earlier predicted. She uses her magic to light up all the swords of the Dothraki army and it boosts up their morale.Lord Varys and Tyrion Lannister are headed to the Winterfell crypts. Tyrion is shown that he is particularly not happy by this decision as he wishes to fight off the army of the dead.Arya Stark is shown standing alongside her sister Sansa Stark and hands her a dragonglass knife and somehow orders her to go into the crypts and be with the scared people. Arya Stark in the official trailerYouTube/HBODaenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow choose to overlook the battle from the top of a mountain but when the first batch of Dothraki army including Ghost, gets defeated, Daenerys storm off to use her dragon to eradicate all the White Walkers. She somehow manages to wipe out several of them but when Jon Snow joins her, they both get entangled into the heavy snow storm and goes far away from the battle.In the Winterfell, we see several of our favorite characters fighting for their lives. As Peter Baelish said in season seven of Game of Thrones, so many things happened in such a short duration that viewers were not given a single moment to catch their breath.We see Sandor Clegane still afraid of the fire but when he sees Arya Stark fighting the White Walkers singlehandedly, he gets all the motivation he needs and runs towards her to help her.Clegane and Arya then meet Melisandre who reminds Arya of their earlier meeting and how she once told her that she will shut down several eyes including brown eyes, black eyes, and blue eyes. In a very cinematic moment, Melisandre tells Arya what we were waiting to hear from a long time:”What do we say to death?” “Not today,” Arya replies.After the Night King comes to the Winterfell, he first fights with both Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow’s dragons and his own dragon defeats Jon’s dragon. We are not sure whether the dragon survived or not. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion LannisterHBOOne of the most heartbreaking scenes of all was when Lyanna Mormont runs towards a giant and he cups her in his giant hands and breaks every bone in her body. He simply crushes her to pieces but Lyanna is not any other Northern girl, in her dying moments she stabs the giant in his eyes with the dragonglass and falls heroically.On the Godswood, we see Theon and the rest of his army are trying their best to protect Bran Stark. But in the end, Theon is left all alone and has a very humane moment with Bran. When Theon comes forward to ask Bran for his forgiveness, Bran simply replies to him that his action made him come to this point in this life and he is a good man. Upon hearing these words, Theon becomes the man Ned Stark always wanted him to be — someone who thinks about the others before the personal gain.Upon Night King’s arrival in the Winterfell, he raises everyone from the dead. Including all the dead Dothraki and Unsullied.After Daenerys falls from her dragon, she is surrounded by hundreds of dead Dothraki who are now trying to kill her but she is rescued by Ser Jorah Mormont who dies saving the woman he loved from the very beginning.Jon Snow is seen stuck inside the castle with Night King’s dragon and could not manage to come out of it. He tries several times but in the end, he simply cannot. Bran Stark is the Night KingFacebookWhen Night King kills Theon and approaches Bran Stark to end his life, we see Arya Stark jumping on him and using her Valyrian steel knife to stab him. In just a blink of an eye, we see Night King breaking down like glass and along with him, the entire army of dead shreds into pieces.Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 “The Long Night” was something magical and kudos to everyone involved in making something so beautiful, so perfect. With only three more episodes remaining, we simply cannot wait to see what HBO’s Game of Thrones has to offer us more.
The president has strongly criticized Democrats for opposing his cabinet nominations, tweeting that they should be “ashamed of themselves” for obstructing the process.One nominee that Democrats have pushed back sharply against is one of the Senate’s own, US attorney general nominee Senator Jeff Sessions, an early Trump backer during the presidential campaign.Sessions endured a contentious hearing, during which Democrats questioned his civil rights record and his opposition to immigration.His colleagues voted to advance his nomination, setting up a confirmation vote for this week.DeVos is less well known than Sessions. But she is a fixture in the education world, having served on the boards of non-profit groups that support school choice.“Parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning meets the needs of every child, and they know other options exist—whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, religious or any combination thereof,” she said at her confirmation hearing.Until her nomination, she chaired the American Federation for Children, a DeVos family umbrella organization that supports advancement of school choice outside of Michigan.“Our work in Michigan was so successful that some of our friends in the movement began to say, ‘We really need to do this nationally,’” DeVos said in a 2013 interview with the Philanthropy Roundtable.“And I said, ‘Yes, I think we do.” Dick DeVos © watches as his wife, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (L), shakes the hand of US Vice President Mike Pence after taking the oath of office during a swearing-in ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Photo: AFPPresident Donald Trump’s administration claimed a victory over Democrats Tuesday with the US Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, after Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tie-breaking vote.The chamber deadlocked at 50-50, with two Republicans breaking ranks to oppose Trump’s hotly contested nominee, a billionaire who champions using taxpayer monies to help fund privately run schools.Pence was needed to break the tie, the first time a sitting vice president has ever cast a deciding vote for a cabinet pick.The White House applauded the confirmation, with spokesman Sean Spicer saying DeVos “will ensure that every student has access to a good school, whether it’s public, private or charter.”But Pence trooping up to the Capitol to salvage DeVos’s nomination was lousy optics for the administration as Trump struggles to get his cabinet in place.Just five of 15 cabinet members have now been confirmed, in addition to the cabinet-rank positions of CIA director and US ambassador to the United Nations.By the same time in 2008, all but three members of president Barack Obama’s cabinet were in place.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats for slow-walking nominees, saying they ought to “get over the election (and) let this administration get up and get running.”McConnell has placed the nominations for attorney general, health secretary and head of US Treasury on the calendar.“All should be confirmed this week,” he said.Contentious pickDeVos, the 59-year-old political scion from Michigan, had triggered an outpouring of frustration and anger late last year, as critics blasted Trump’s education pick as someone who had never attended public schools or worked in the public school system.Two moderate Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, bucked Trump and opposed his choice, citing DeVos’s lack of qualifications for the post that oversees thousands of schools, millions of students and curriculum standards.Democrats were unable to convince another Republican to defect, despite intense lobbying that culminated with an all-night Democratic talk-a-thon late Monday into Tuesday on the Senate floor.“I thought we had some chance,” said top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer. “We realized even if we didn’t, to make the point that DeVos was so anti-public education was an important point to make.”Several Democrats highlighted lingering questions about DeVos’s financial entanglements and her apparent lack of understanding about basic education issues.Supporters praise the politically-connected businesswoman and philanthropist as a fierce advocate of school choice, a US movement that seeks to use tax credits and vouchers to allow parents to opt out of the public school system in favor of privately managed charter schools for their children.‘Local control’Republican Senator Rob Portman said DeVos would not rule with a heavy hand from Washington.“She strongly supports local control of education and has pledged not to impose her own views on states and local school districts, but rather to allow them—along with parents—to make the decisions that best fit the needs of their children,” Portman said.
US president Donald Trump walks out to talk to reporters as he departs for travel to Alabama and Florida from the White House in Washington, US on 8 March. Photo: ReutersWhen president Donald Trump proposes his 2020 federal budget on Monday, officials in Washington will likely have a quick look, shrug and move on, marking another stage in the quiet decay of the US government’s traditional policy-making processes.There was a time when the release of the president’s budget was a red-letter day on the calendar of Washington wonkery, with policy experts and fiscal hawks delving into spreadsheets and expounding upon new spending plans and the national debt.But the hoopla of budget day is gone, a relic of a time when politics were less polarized, the federal deficit drove political decisions and the White House and Congress still took the budget process seriously.”It has seemed to me that budget day ain’t what it used to be,” said Robert Bixby, who has pored over the budget for more than 25 years at the Concord Coalition, a fiscal responsibility advocacy group.Last year’s budget weighed in at a whopping $4.4 trillion. It was not balanced and was panned for relying on rosy economic projections and for not doing enough to cut the federal deficit.The 2020 Trump budget will land a month after a deadline established in law, a lag blamed on the recent five-week partial shutdown of the federal government over a funding dispute.Congress, which controls federal spending, is likely to dismiss Trump’s proposal, if recent history is any guide.The Democratic-ruled House of Representatives and Republican-majority Senate also are unlikely to agree on a joint budget resolution of their own. Instead, they probably will stumble forward until fiscal 2019 ends and a spending deadline arrives on 1 October, forcing them to produce a last-minute deal or face another government shutdown.”The entire process has become one of missed deadlines, make-believe budgets filled with gimmicks and magic asterisks,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, who said the process has gradually deteriorated into something that is neither serious nor effective.”I think it feels like a bit of kabuki theater at this point, for everybody,” MacGuineas said.The White House disagreed. The budget process helps the administration set priorities for agencies for the year ahead and lays down a marker on issues, a senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”Of course, Congress has the power of the purse but the president’s budget plants a flag to define terms of the tax and spending debate in Washington,” the official said.Budget on a StretcherThe traditional budget and appropriations process was limping along well before Trump took office.One of former president Ronald Reagan’s budgets in the 1980s was brought out on a stretcher as a stunt to show the document was alive and well, ahead of it being declared dead-on-arrival in Congress, recalled Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.”What we have right now is essentially government by automatic pilot and that’s not healthy,” Moore said, describing the cycle of last-minute massive omnibus spending bills agreed on only when deadlines loom.The budget and spending process has been further hobbled by lawmakers’ unwillingness to compromise and tendency to put off hard decisions while hoping for a shift in the next election cycle, said Kenneth Baer, an associate director in the Office of Management and Budget under former President Barack Obama.Trump’s budget office has accelerated the downward slide of the process by using more gimmicks to make up for shortfalls in its budgets, Baer said. “All the normal ways of operating the government have just been thrown out of the window,” he said.Trump’s acting budget director, Russell Vought, has said the budget aims to cut non-defence spending and cap spending under levels set in the 2011 Budget Control Act – a feat made possible only with an increase in an emergency account called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund to cover Trump’s plan to increase defence spending.The tactic makes a mockery of the budget process, said Bixby of the Concord Coalition.”It’s nothing but an astronomical gimmick! It’s over the top! It’s so over the top, it’s clownish!” Bixby said.With the national debt now topping $22 trillion and the deficit at $900 million in 2019, it is unlikely that Washington will find its way to fiscal discipline without an overhaul of the budget process, Bixby said.He said he is frustrated and worried that it could take a crisis to jolt change, like a recession or a failure to raise the government’s debt limit – something that needs to happen in coming months to avoid stumbling into a first-ever default.”If they act as dysfunctionally this fall as they did last fall and throw the debt limit into the mix, it’s very, very toxic,” Bixby said.
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /01:08 Share NASARunoff from Harvey as seen by satellite imaging.If you’re a salt water organism like those on the reef at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary an influx of freshwater, and the resulting drop in salinity, can kill you.Scientists noticed a mass deaths among sea life at the Flower Garden Banks after freshwater runoff from flooding on the Gulf Coast hit the reef in 2016. So far, runoff from Hurricane Harvey has not caused the same devastation, although some of the reef has shown signs of stress, researchers said. “Coral reefs like ocean water, they’re very sensitive ecosystems and they like stable conditions,” said Kathryn Shamberger, a researcher at Texas A&M University. Runoff can introduce pollutants to the reef and also affect salinity, pH and light levels.“The reef is basically a city where the corals are apartment buildings and there are all sorts of diverse animals and plants living in those apartments,” said Adrienne Correa, a researcher Rice University. When one part of the reef, or apartment, is stressed, so too are others. High stress on the reef can lead to mass die-offs like the one in 2016.Correa said that in 2016 the water was hazy and green, the reef turned pale with pieces its organisms floating around. Right now, there are just small signs of stress. But Correa said researchers are still keeping an eye on the reef.“We might understand as we have more frequent and intense storms, given climate change, how at risk our coral reef ecosystems are going to be when there’s all this freshwater input,” Correa said.Correa said her team will be visiting the reef again in April to observe Harvey’s long term effects on the ecosystem. X
By Lenore T. Adkins, Special to the AFROWords matter and are not to be taken lightly, University of the District of Columbia Professor Bernard “Bernie” Demczuk told nearly two dozen Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recruits on their mandatory Black History tour along U Street April 20.In his opinion when people say “riot,” they’re talking about Black people violently reacting to tragedy. That’s why Demczuk instead calls the unrest along U Street following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968 an uprising or rebellion.Bernie Demczuk speaks to officers during the U Street tour. (Photo by Lenore Adkins )“Thug means Black, middle-class means White,” said Demczuk, who is White and teaches African-American history and culture at the University of the District of Columbia. “Urban means Black, riot means Black. I don’t have time to give you a long history lesson on how much there was White rioting against Black people over the last 250 years. Do they call them riots? No, they don’t call them riots.”The police department has partnered with UDC to deploy a training program for D.C.’s roughly 3,800 police officers and 660 civilian personnel to help them understand the city’s rich African American history and the historic racial tension between Black communities and law enforcement.While violent crimes have fallen in the District, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser, negative interactions between Black residents and police officers continue to be a point of contention — a larger issue when considering African Americans comprise 47.7 percent of the District according to the 2016 U.S. Census.Meanwhile, demographic data from D.C. police shows Blacks represent 52.12 percent of the force, while 35.1 percent are White, nearly 9 percent identify as Hispanic, 3.61 percent are Asian, and the rest are either Native American or biracial.The one day program requires several hours of lectures led by Demczuk and professor Sharita Thompson, as well as tours of the Smithsonian African-American Museum of History and Culture and the U Street Corridor. Training started in January and 550 officers have gone through it as of April 20, Demczuk said.On the tour, Demczuk took the recruits along a vibrant five-block stretch of U Street that was once home to “Black Broadway,” and formed in response to segregation on New York City’s Broadway. With its jazz clubs, Black businesses, famous residents and its proximity to Howard University, U Street was ground zero for Black life, society and culture.Today, tension simmers in the rapidly gentrifying corridor between long-time Black residents who saw the neighborhood through its tough times and the new, young White residents moving in, Demczuk said. It’s a something he said police need to know and understand when it comes to doing their job.The two-hour tour led officers through alleys to see vibrant murals, including the one near the landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl (where Demczuk serves as its historian), past Lee’s Flower and Card Shop and Industrial Bank, two other longtime Black businesses, to the African American Civil War Memorial and other historic points of interest.Many people on the street stopped in their tracks, curious about why so many cops were walking up and down U Street — several others joined the tour for short stints. Along the way, Demczak introduced the officers to some of the people who make U Street tick, including Tony, a homeless man who implored the cops not to arrest him if they’re ever walking the beat and Shun Pittman, owner of Corps d’Elite hair salon.“I am so amazed and grateful for this program that Bernie is doing and I hope it takes off nationwide because it’s something that’s needed,” Pittman told the AFRO. “Education is the key for everything, you know? It brings people together.”The police department isn’t relying on data or evidence to show the program works, public affairs specialist Karimah Bilal told the AFRO. It instead acts as an initiative that offers insight into the culture and background of the Black communities D.C. police serve, while drilling down on the historic mistrust between law enforcement and Blacks.Through the training, veteran officer Sarah Snapko learned there’s a reason D.C. doesn’t have vagrancy laws on the books — because they were often used to target Blacks who were hanging out when it was too hot in their homes.She’s hopeful that her fellow officers don’t close their mind to learning something new and wishes she had this training when she joined the force 15 years ago.“A citizen looks to you as the person who can solve the problem for them and yet there’s so much more you don’t realize, you don’t know especially when you’re coming from an outside city and you’re growing up in a different culture,” said Snapko, who is White and is from suburban Cleveland. “Here, it’s a culture shock and to have this type of training and to serve that community, it’s a benefit.”