AUSTIN, Texas — Split irrevocably along party lines, the Texas Senate on Thursday approved legislation banning transgender student athletes from competing in sports within their gender identity. All 18 Republicans voted for Senate Bill 29, which would require athletes in Texas public high schools and grade schools to compete in sports based on the "biological sex" listed on their original birth certificate. Under that definition, biological boys would be banned from competing in girls sports, although girls could compete in boys sports if a comparable female sport was not available. "This is a...
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HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher on Friday responded to the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie.
Rushdie was transported to a local hospital by helicopter and underwent several hours of surgery, his agent, Andrew Wylie told The New York Times.
“The news is not good," Wylie told the newspaper. "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."
Maher said, "a friend of mine, a dear friend of mine, good friend of this show, got stabbed today."
He noted that "Sal did have some enemies in the past" in reference to the 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the Supreme Leader of Iran, against Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses.
"Sal was in Chautaugua, he was giving a lecture -- how's this for irony -- about how the U.S. is a safe haven for writers and other artists under threat of persecution," Maher said.
"And making that speech itself is unthinkable in most Muslim countries," he continued. "Salman Rushdie living in most Muslim countries, without getting stabbed every day, is unthinkable."
"So don't come at me with Islamophobic," Maher said. "Phobic means fear, right? Well, Sal had a good reason to be fearful. And when you say phobic, it's just a way to shut off debate. You know, they use transphobic, Islamophobic, and we should have a debate about this."
"These things don't go away," the host said. "Islam is still a much more fundamentalist religion than any of the other religions in the world and that means they take what is in the holy book seriously and that has been dangerous for a long time. It's still dangerous."
The Department of Justice says that it executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago to protect critical nuclear weapons and signals intelligence documents, but Donald Trump's new defense is that the entire world is already free to view the documents.
On Friday evening, Trump's organization reportedly gave an exclusive new statement to far-right writer John Solomon, who proceeded to read it on-air on Fox News. Solomon is one of Trump's representatives to the National Archives and Records Administration, along with Kash Patel.
"As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time. American presidents are no different. President Trump, in order to prepare for work the next day, often took documents including classified documents from the Oval Office to the residence," Trump admitted, even though some of the documents recovered are supposed to remain in a SCIF or "Secure, Compartmentalized Information Facility."
"He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified," the unnamed spokesperson said.
That would mean that all of the documents in question are now in the public domain.
"The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated by the president, needs to approve of declassification is absurd," the statement falsely claimed.
The president does not have the power to unilaterally declassify nuclear weapons information.
On Friday, The New York Times reported that pro-Trump users on the president's social media network Truth Social are starting to push the idea that calls for violence against the FBI for most of the week were a false flag operation planted by government agents.
"Truth Social users posted that the United States was born 'through an insurrection followed by several years of bloody violence,' and that the country would 'become a communist state just as long as we don’t pick up arms and fight back!!'" reported Tiffany Hsu and Sheera Frankel. "There was talk that 'the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,' a phrase from a letter by Thomas Jefferson, and that 'sometimes clearing out dangerous vermin requires a modicum of violence, unfortunately.'"
"But later in the week, a different narrative gained traction, propelled without evidence by other prominent Truth Social users: that calls for violence were posts planted by federal law enforcement officials or Democratic operatives to frame right-wing patriots as insurrectionists and extremists," said the report. "The point, the conspiracy theory goes, is to give the Biden administration cover to strip Trump supporters of guns, or to set up a pretext for martial law."
Among the prominent users pushing this was Jack Posobiec, a far-right activist who helped spread the "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory. On Thursday, Posobiec posted “ANYONE POSTING ABOUT BEING VIOLENT RIGHT NOW IS A FED.”
This comes after Ricky Shiffer, a former January 6 insurrectionist suspected to have posted calls for violence against federal agents on Truth Social, tried to shoot his way into an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday. State police pursued him and eventually killed him in a shootout.
"The sentiments on Trump’s social media network extended to other platforms as well," the report continued. "One Proud Boys Telegram channel, used by hundreds of members of the militant group, posted in the hours after the search that 'civil war is imminent.' On Twitter, there was a tenfold increase in tweets mentioning 'civil war' in the 24 hours after the raid, according to Dataminr, a tool that analyzes Twitter data."