Sam Gyimah: I am an outcast in the Tory party

The former minister and rising star of Theresa Mays government reveals why he has joined the Liberal Democrats Sam Gyimah, the softly-spoken former Tory minister, admitted he was still adjusting. It was just a few hours before the unassuming MP for East Surrey was unveiled as the Liberal Democrats latest recruit at the partys Bournemouth conference. But it all felt very new. I think Ill probably spend the next few days saying, Sam Gyimah, Liberal Democrat MP, and get used to that first, he said. There is a huge emotional side to it. Ive been involved in the Conservative party for two decades. Ive fought for the party. I have an unusual background Im not your typical Tory recruit. Ive …

Madeleine Westerhout, Trump’s gatekeeper, was known for her loyalty — until she was pushed out

(CNN)One of the people who has sat the closest to President Donald Trump throughout his presidency isn’t a household name, but her abrupt departure Thursday sent shockwaves through the West Wing. Trump praised her as “a very good person and I thought, I always felt she did a good job.” He said Westerhout had called him to discuss the dinner. She said she had been “drinking a little bit,” Trump said. Trump noted that the dinner was off the record, but he said, “Nevertheless, you don’t say things. You don’t say certain things, so it was too bad.” He added that they had spoken just before he came out to meet the press and he had “wished her well.” Westerhout’s …

Top secret teens: The high schoolers recruited by the National Security Agency

Fort Meade, Maryland (CNN)Summer’s high school friends think she’s monitoring their phones and listening in on their conversations. They speculate about the “wild things” she does at work and jokingly accuse her of being a spy. The trio — who are all 18 and just graduated from high schools in Maryland – are among the more than 150 high schoolers in a work study program at the agency which gives them access and exposure to some of the country’s most sensitive information and secret efforts. For that they need TS/SCI, more commonly known as Top Secret security clearance, as high as clearances go. No small feat to get (just ask Jared Kushner) and a weighty responsibility for anyone, let alone …

The science of influencing people: six ways to win an argument

Hidebound views on subjects such as the climate crisis and Brexit are the norm but science may sway stubborn opinions I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters of religion and politics a mans reasoning powers are not above the monkeys, wrote Mark Twain. Having written a book about our most common reasoning errors, I would argue that Twain was being rather uncharitable to monkeys. Whether we are discussing Trump, Brexit, or the Tory leadership, we have all come across people who appear to have next to no understanding of world events but who talk with the utmost confidence and conviction. And the latest psychological research can now help us to understand why. Consider the overestimate their …

Cory Booker’s college football struggles echo in his presidential campaign

Newark, New Jersey (CNN)In the winter after the 1986 football season, legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz flew to New Jersey on a private jet to interview a promising recruit from Bergen County: a 6’4″, 220-pound star player named Cory Booker. “You don’t miss Cory in a room,” Samantha Davidson Green, a classmate and close friend of Booker’s from Stanford, told CNN’s Mackenzie Happe. “He kind of lights it up. He was always like that. He was friendly, and warm, and gregarious. I think some of the football players kept to themselves and were on their own schedule. Cory was always reaching out to people of all different backgrounds.” Booker got deeply involved with a 24-hour crisis hotline for students …

Mike Pence’s unbelievable answer on whether climate change is a threat

(CNN)Sometimes you have to read something to believe it. Vice President Mike Pence’s pretzel-twisting when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether climate change is a threat to the United States is one of those times. TAPPER: But I want to ask you a question about climate change.

Trumps Latest Attack on Federal Climate Science May Backfire

This story originally appeared on HuffPost and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. As planet-warming gases reach levels not previously seen in human history, the Trump administration’s bid to restrict how federal scientists conduct the next National Climate Assessment risks delaying urgent action required to curb emissions and climate change. But the administration effort could also backfire, becoming yet another loss for a president whose deregulatory efforts struggle to meet basic legal standards while hardening the resolve of career government researchers trying to uphold the scientific method. Last fall the White House released the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a 13-agency analysis of peer-reviewed climate science required by Congress at least every four years. The release …

Ocasio-Cortez waits tables to raise awareness for increasing minimum wage

(CNN)When most bartenders shake up margaritas, the bars don’t usually erupt in cheers — but most bartenders aren’t Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez is a cosponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would bump the federal minimum hourly wage to $15 for all workers — up from the current $7.25 hourly rate, which hasn’t been raised since 2009. Speaking to the crowd, Ocasio-Cortez described both the opportunities and difficulties posed by the restaurant industry, drawing from her own experience. “My first job, when I was about 16 years old, was as a hostess at an Irish pub,” she said, adding that “my hostessing job paid for my train tickets to come down to Manhattan so I could work and study …

Colorado becomes the latest state to ban gay conversion therapy for youth

Washington (CNN)Colorado is the latest state to move to ban gay conversion therapy for minors, aligning Colorado’s policies with the consensus among leading medical and mental health professional organizations. Studies have found that efforts to change a young person’s sexuality can put them at a greater risk of depression or suicide. Despite being condemned by medical bodies and having its science debunked by experts worldwide, the practice is legal throughout most of Europe, where campaigns and petitions to halt it exist in several countries. Colorado is one of 39 states to have either introduced or passed legislation banning the practice, according to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that works on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. About 698,000 LGBT adults …

‘Heartbeat’ Bills Get the Science of Fetal Heartbeats All Wrong

Last week, Georgia governor Brian Kemp—the narrow winner over Stacey Abrams in a contentious, sketchy election last year—signed into law a ban on abortions after more than six weeks of pregnancy. That made Georgia the sixth state to institute such a ban, and the fourth this year (Ohio’s elected officials put theirs in place in April), with seven more states kicking around the idea. It’s not even the most aggressive anti-abortion concept; the Alabama state senate is set to vote today on a bill that, if it became law, would make performing an abortion a crime punishable by up to 99 years in prison. They’re all part of a nationwide push, with more than 300 bills in 2019, to try …

Trump’s feud with Congress puts American democracy on the brink

Washington (CNN)The constitutional showdown between President Donald Trump and House Democrats is taking a grave new twist that threatens to embroil the nation in a deep political and legal nightmare that could last for years. On Wednesday it also emerged that the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee is deadlocked with the President’s eldest son, Don Jr., who has been subpoenaed to return to the panel to testify. Nadler: Barr won’t testify because he is terrified But while Washington is consumed by the confrontation, polls and anecdotal evidence suggest indifference among many Americans about the momentous goings-on in Washington, which so far are not resonating much outside the capital. A strong economy, extreme political polarization and the daily struggles of millions of …