Although Pete Davidson was featured in many headlines over the weekend about a major cast shakeup at “Saturday Night Live,” many believe it’s the loss of Kate McKinnon that deserves the most attention. Davidson, 28, has become major click-bait after he started dating Kim Kardashian, put up with being publicly threatened by her ex-husband, Kanye West, and escorted the reality TV star wearing Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday” dress to the Met Gala. McKinnon hasn’t done anything as splashy outside of her work of “SNL,” but she’s been “the heart” of the popular, late-night sketchy comedy sh...
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With smiles, pride and emotion, the first same-sex couples tied the knot in Switzerland on Friday following a referendum that changed the landscape for LGBTQ rights in the country.
Among the first to get married were Aline, 46, and Laure, 45, who have been together for 21 years and converted their civil union into marriage at the plush Palais Eynard in Geneva.
Beneath a sparkling chandelier in a mirrored salon, and with a dozen or so close friends and family in attendance, the couple exchanged touching words recalling their years together and love for each other.
"You are a wonderful person," said Aline, looking into Laure's eyes.
"I still want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Holding hands throughout the ceremony, they signed the official documents, followed by their witnesses.
"I am now very pleased to announce that you are officially married," said Geneva mayor Marie Barbey-Chappuis, who conducted the ceremony.
The room burst into applause as the couple shared a kiss.
There was no exchange of rings, with the pair instead opting to leave on the gold bands from their civil partnership struck exactly 19 years ago on July 1, 2003.
'Moment' in history
"It's really important for us to have this visibility, to show that marriage is open to everyone, now and for future generations too," Laure told reporters afterwards.
Her wife Aline added: "It took rather a long time in Switzerland. But now it's done, it's great, and with a big 'Yes' majority, so we are very, very happy."
The Swiss government's plans to finally introduce "marriage for all" were challenged by opponents, who successfully triggered a referendum held last September.
But 64.1 percent of voters backed the introduction of same-sex marriage in the wealthy Alpine nation.
Switzerland was one of the last remaining western European nations where same-sex marriages had yet to be adopted. The Netherlands was the first to make the change in 2001.
"It was very moving. It's a big moment and sends a very strong message to society -- being free to love and be loved," mayor Barbey-Chappuis told AFP after the first ceremony.
"The symbolism was particularly strong and the emotion too," she said.
"It was high time that marriage became perfectly equal in Switzerland."
Later Friday, the Palais Eynard held its first wedding between two men: Daniel, a 54-year-old interior designer and 51-year-old stylist Xavier, who have been a couple for 15 years.
Seventy people filled a room in the 19th-century parkside venue to witness the ceremony.
The pair exchanged their vows with classical music playing to ensure that only they could hear each other.
Daniel put on his glasses to read his, the card trembling slightly in his hand as Xavier comforted him by holding his other arm.
Married to huge applause, they walked out arm in arm to the waiting wedding cake and champagne flutes, where Xavier's father told the guests: "Thank you Switzerland. At last."
Both couples were given a wrapped gift from the city, a bouquet, and the pen with which they became married.
"We're intensely happy and it's something fabulous for us," Xavier told reporters.
"We hope to live our lives simply and like everyone else."
Switzerland decriminalized homosexuality in 1942. Before Friday, same-sex couples could only register a civil partnership -- a status which does not provide the same rights as marriage.
But same-sex couples can now marry in civil ceremonies and enjoy the same rights as other married couples.
Notably, same-sex foreign spouses are now eligible to apply for citizenship through a simplified procedure and same-sex couples are now permitted to adopt jointly.
© 2022 AFP
‘No question’: Former top FBI official says Trump world statements are ‘an attempt to intimidate a witness’
Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi says the messages shared by Vice-Chair Liz Cheney during Tuesday's bombshell hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack are "witness tampering."
"There is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it," Figliuzzi said on MSNBC Friday afternoon about statements now reportedly sent or said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Parts of those statements read: "He wants me to let you know he's thinking about you," "As long as you stay on the team and do the right thing, you'll stay in good graces," and, "He knows you're loyal and you're going to do the right thing."
Figliuzzi said "there's little doubt here" that those are examples of witness tampering.
"This is law school first year 101 Criminal Procedure. At the very least, DOJ now has enough to open a witness tampering investigation. We can talk about whether they would win or not, who did it or not, reasonable doubt or not, but there is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it. When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation."
The Committee did not reveal who made those statements, but later reporting indicates Hutchinson conveyed both those messages to the Committee, suggesting she was the recipient.
On Thursday Politico reported that "Hutchinson told the committee she was contacted by an intermediary for Mark Meadows, according to a person familiar with her final deposition." Meadows has since denied the allegation.
Pointing to that Politico article on Twitter, Figliuzzi on Thursday wrote: "This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman."
The Jan. 6 hearings have pulled back the curtain on the 'crazies and cowards' around Trump: Paul Krugman
In his column for the New York, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman made his case the Republican Party appears to be nothing less than a confederation of "crazies, cowards and careerists," less interested in governing than they are in kowtowing to Donald Trump.
Reflecting on the January 6 House hearings investigating the storming of the Capitol by supporters of the former president, Krugman said the GOP stands exposed as members of Congress who could provide testimony refuse to do so, and their colleagues turn a blind eye.
According to Krugman what has been revealed thus far "has been riveting and terrifying," he claimed, "realistically there is no longer any doubt that Trump tried to overturn the results of a lawful election, and when all else had failed, encouraged and tried to abet a violent attack on Congress."
Adding that he is not a lawyer and is in no position to specify what laws have been broken, he turned his ire on the GOP leadership and the far-right members of Congress who are aiding and abetting Trump -- just so he can keep his 2024 presidential ambitions alive and they can tag along.
"Dozens of people in or close to the Trump administration must have known what was going on; many of them surely have firsthand knowledge of at least some aspects of the coup attempt. Yet only a handful have come forward with what they know," he wrote, "How can we explain this abdication of duty?"
The columnist suggested there may be a simple answer.
"Even now, full-on MAGA cultists are probably a minority among G.O.P. politicians. For every Lauren Boebert or Marjorie Taylor Greene, there are most likely several Kevin McCarthys — careerists, not crazies, apparatchiks rather than fanatics. Yet the noncrazy wing of the G.O.P., with only a handful of exceptions, has nonetheless done everything it can to prevent any reckoning over the attempted coup," he wrote. "
"The Republican Party is a far more monolithic entity, in which politicians compete over who adheres most faithfully to the party’s line. That line used to be defined by economic ideology, but these days it is more about positioning in the culture wars — and personal loyalty to Trump. It takes great moral courage for Republicans to defy the party’s diktats, and those who do are promptly excommunicated," he explained before citing longtime conservatives like Bill Kristol and Max Boot -- as well as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) -- who have bucked the trend and fought back at the former president's attempt to overthrow democratic institutions.
"I don’t think it’s a slur on these people’s courage to note that the neocons were always a distinct group, never fully assimilated by the Republican monolith, with careers that rested in part on reputations outside the party. This arguably leaves them freer than garden-variety Republicans to act in accord with their consciences," he suggested before concluding, "Unfortunately, that still leaves the rest. If the Democrats are a coalition of interest groups, Republicans are now a coalition of crazies and cowards. And it’s hard to say which Republicans present the greater danger."