Newsom, Lightfoot, Cuomo NYU Professor Says ... Blame Hypocrite Leaders for COVID Failures

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Way too many politicians are setting a terrible example of how to act during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why the U.S. is failing so badly at containing it ... according to NYU's Director of the Division of Medical Ethics.

NO DOUBLE STANDARDS
TMZ.com

Dr. Arthur Caplan is laying much of the blame for surging COVID-19 cases and deaths at the feet of elected officials who have been caught flouting their own health orders, restrictions and guidelines.

Donald Trump has been spewing misinformation about the pandemic for months, and the most effective people to push back are the governors and mayors who were promoting mask wearing, social distancing, etc. Around 40% of the country won't take the vaccine, and these governors and mayors are critical in changing minds. But, a number of those elected officials have crossed their own lines, and Dr. Caplan says it does lots of damage.

11/23/20
CUOMO'S THANKSGIVING PLANS
WAMC

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's been the national counterpoint to Trump's misinformation campaign and a strong proponent of wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings, but recently planned on having his mother visit for Thanksgiving after traveling.

Cuomo canceled that plan after being called out for it, but he's far from the only politician to go counter to the advice they give the public ... and Caplan says that's a major factor in regular U.S. citizens rejecting proper COVID precautions.

Dr. Caplan tells us we can't just allow politicians to get away with a "Do as I say, not as I do" approach to governing ... because it creates a dangerous double standard.

Instead, he says we desperately need our leaders to be role models during the pandemic ... especially with the crisis escalating and the all-important vaccine on the horizon.

Obviously, that means politicians like California Gov. Gavin Newsom should stop ignoring his own COVID guidelines by attending a restaurant birthday party with a bunch of people. The same goes for San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who attended a different party a day later at the same restaurant.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's been criticized for both getting a haircut during early lockdown days and joining a street party when Joe Biden won the election.

Sheila Kuehl, a member of L.A. County's powerful Board of Supervisors, voted to temporarily stop restaurant dining, but hours later she was chowing down at her favorite restaurant .. in fairness, before the restriction took effect, but still, it sends a bad message.

According to Caplan, these are the types of actions that make people think ... if government officials don't have to follow the rules, I don't either.

The good news -- the NYU professor believes politicians all across the country can garner public trust by supporting the COVID vaccine and showing they support it by getting vaccinated themselves ... and we'll all start doing the right thing.

COVID Vaccines Mafia Aiming to Snatch Meds ... Cops Bracing Worldwide

Get ready to see COVID-19 vaccines on the black market, probably even before you can get it legally, because organized crime's already gunning for the precious medication ... according to Interpol.

The international agency issued the red alert (they call it an "Orange Notice") Wednesday to law enforcement around the world ... warning that as vaccines are getting approved, bad guys are "planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains."

Translation: Interpol has some intel about crime figures attempting to intercept shipments of the vaccines -- which are set for distribution to the public in the UK as soon as next week, and later this month in the United States.

International 5-0 is also warning the public not to fall for the inevitable flood of phony knockoff vaccines and treatments on the Internet ... not to mention bogus testing kits.

It should go without saying, but cops are simply reminding you -- don't fall for the "it fell off a truck" line when it comes to protecting yourself from the coronavirus.

Rapper G Herbo Charged in Fraud Scheme ... Allegedly Scored Luxury Trip, Puppies

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6:58 PM PT -- A rep for G Herbo tells us, "He (G Herbo) maintains his innocence and looks forward to establishing his innocence in court."

They continue, "Herbo has legal representation in Massachusetts via Prince Lobel, whose team has reached out to the US Attorney’s office in Massachusetts to make arrangements for Herbo's appearance. G Herbo will appear in Massachusetts whenever he is required either in person or via Zoom."

G Herbo and his associates perpetrated a massive fraud to go on fancy vacations, fly on private jets and even buy "designer puppies" ... so claim the feds.

According to a new federal complaint, G Herbo -- along with his music promoter and other members of his crew -- allegedly conspired to defraud numerous businesses with stolen credit cards over the course of a 4-year period.

In docs, obtained by TMZ, the feds claim Herbo specifically conspired to get a private villa in Jamaica back in July 2017 by contacting music promoter Antonio Strong to arrange it and provide a stolen credit card to pay for incidentals.

What's more ... the feds allege the rapper was in cahoots with Strong to use an alias and a stolen credit card to purchase 2 "designer puppies" from a luxury pet store. The feds allege the other defendants also scored private jet charters to fly women, private yacht charters, exotic car rentals and luxury hotel and vacation rental accommodations.

Herbo's been charged with 1 count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 2 counts of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. Antonio was also slapped with several counts, including wire fraud ... and was arrested back in September, but it's unclear if Herbo has plans to surrender.

His attorney provided a "no comment" when reached by the Chicago Tribune, which first reported the story.

The news comes on the heels of Forbes naming Herbo to its 30 under 30 list in the music category. The publication praised the rapper for his recent music success and launching a youth mental health initiative.

Originally Published -- 4:13 PM PT

'RHOBH' Kyle, Kathy & Dorit All Have COVID

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The COVID concerns pausing production on "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" run way deeper than an infected crew member ... we've learned several cast members also have the virus.

Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... Kyle Richards, Kathy Hilton and Dorit Kemsley have also tested positive for COVID-19. We're told they are all recovering at home and none of the women had serious symptoms.

The series started filming its new season toward the end of October, and our sources say there were safety protocols in place including testing and temperature checks ... but that couldn't stop a COVID outbreak from impacting production.

As you know ... 'RHOBH' shut down production last week after a crew member tested positive for the virus. Turns out even if the crew member was COVID-free, production would have shut down because nearly half the stars contracted the virus.

Our sources say Kyle, Kathy and Dorit did not contract COVID on set, but Kathy and Kyle were hanging out together -- after all, they're sisters -- and Dorit was along for the ride.

We're told all 3 ladies are in the end stages of the virus, and should be ok.

NBA 48 Players Test Positive For COVID At Start Of 2020-21 Season

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No bubble, mo' problems.

The NBA says 48 out of 546 players have tested positive for COVID-19 in its first round of testing for the 2020-21 season.

Yeah ... not great.

But, NBA officials aren't panicked just yet -- insisting they expected higher numbers off the bat as players leave their homes to rejoin their teams, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The NBA says players were tested in their team's home market between Nov. 24 and Nov. 30 -- which the league has dubbed "the initial return to market testing phase."

NBA officials did not name names as to who tested positive so far -- but a spokesperson says all COVID positive players have been instructed to isolate in their team's city "until they are cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance."

Of course, the NBA does NOT plan on playing the 2020-21 season in the bubble environment at Walt Disney World in Orlando this time around ... despite the massive success it enjoyed earlier this year.

The move to host games in various cities isn't going over well with some players and execs including Philadelphia 76ers coach, Doc Rivers, who said he's "very concerned" about a bubble-free season.

Just look at the NFL ... they're not in a bubble and the 2020 season has been a mess -- with a bunch of players, coaches, execs and others testing positive on a fairly regular basis.

NFL games have been pushed, the quality of the play has been questioned ... and several top players have opted out.

The bubble-less NBA season kicks off on Dec. 22 -- let's hope everyone stays safe.

Phoenix PD Apparently Suicidal Man Shot by Cops ... Body Cam Released

THE HORRIFIC MOMENT
Arizona Police Department

Newly released body cam footage shows cops in Arizona chasing an armed man -- who appeared to be suicidal -- and then gunning him down.

The intense video shows cops running after the man who was allegedly assaulting a woman when Phoenix PD showed up. During the Nov. 13 incident, the 2 officers noticed he had a handgun and repeatedly yelled for him to stop and drop the weapon.

The man continued running away from cops, and pointed his gun at his own head as he fled. Things finally came to a critical point as he walked quickly toward a busy street while still brandishing the gun. The officers fired 3 shots and he instantly hit the deck before being taken into custody.

He reportedly suffered gunshot wounds to his back and leg and his father claims cops shot him twice when he was already down. You can judge for yourself by watching the video.

Cops say they gave the man medical aid right after shooting him and transported him to a hospital, where he remains hospitalized and will be booked on multiple felony charges when he's released from care.

Police say they've opened an internal investigation.

Ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh $840 Mil Net Worth & No Will?!? So Claims His Family

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The death of ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was tragic enough, but now his family is shocked because they believe he might not have written a will for his reported $840 million net worth.

Tony's father, Richard, and brother, Andrew, are asking a Clark County, Nevada judge to appoint them special administrators of Tony's estate. No shocker there, but in the docs, obtained by TMZ, they claim he didn't have a will in place when he died the day after Thanksgiving.

Tony's fam says they're "unaware of the existence of a fully executed estate plan" and "have a good faith belief" that Tony, who was unmarried and had no kids, died without leaving a will. The family's asking for access to Tony's accounts and safe deposit box to see if there are any estate planning docs in them.

The family also says a special administrator is needed to tend to Tony's "business obligations and commitments that require funding from assets that are presently frozen."

Forbes estimated Tony had a net worth of $840 million before he retired as Zappos' CEO earlier this summer. Tony, who made his initial fortune after selling his internet advertising company to Microsoft in 1998, died last week after sustaining injuries suffered during a house fire in Connecticut.

He was 46.

'Mad Max' Star Hugh Keays-Byrne Dead at 73

Hugh Keays-Byrne -- the actor who impressively played the bad guy in both the original "Mad Max" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" 36 years later -- has died.

Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan announced the Australian actor's passing and hailed him as "an unsung hero of Aussie cinema" -- adding he's "continually floored" Hugh played the main villain in both 'Mad Max' movies.

It's true -- Hugh became famous for starring opposite Mel Gibson in the 1979 film as the central antagonist, Toecutter ... then returned to face off against Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy as Immortan Joe in 2015.

As you'd imagine ... he's the only actor to appear in both flicks, and he and director George Miller had a very good working relationship over the decades. Miller also cast Hugh in the scrapped DC movie, "Justice League: Mortal."

That's not all he's known for though -- Keays-Byrne also starred in several British and Australian projects, including "Stone," "The Chain Reaction" and "Resistance."

He had more than 50 acting credits to his name spanning nearly 5 decades.

So far, Hugh's cause of death is unknown. He was 73.

RIP

Rafer Johnson Dead at 86 Olympic Legend and American Hero

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Rafer Johnson -- a decorated Olympian and American hero -- has died, TMZ Sports has confirmed. He was 86.

Johnson passed away Wednesday morning at his home in Sherman Oaks, CA surrounded by his family.

Johnson lived such an amazing life as an athlete, actor, philanthropist and hero -- it's hard to pick where to start when telling his story ...

How about this ... he was one of the brave men who tackled and subdued gunman Sirhan Sirhan seconds after Robert Kennedy was assassinated back in 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A.

In fact, Johnson ripped the gun away from Sirhan and hid it in his own pocket to prevent any more violence.

As an athlete, Rafer won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome ... four years after he won silver in the same event at the 1956 Olympic Games.

He was a 2-sport athlete at UCLA -- running track and playing basketball.

And get this ... he was such an insane athlete, the L.A. Rams selected him in the 28th round of the 1959 NFL Draft as a running back despite never playing a single down of college football!

After his storied career as an athlete, Johnson became an actor -- appearing in a bunch of movies including "Wild in the Country" with Elvis Presley, "Pirates of Tortuga" and even the 1989 James Bond flick, "A License to Kill."

Rafer was also a key figure in launching the Special Olympics in 1968 -- and co-founded the California Special Olympics in 1969.

Johnson served on the CSO board of directors for 2 decades before joining the Board of Governors.

Oh, and he also worked for the Peace Corps!

Johnson married his wife Betsy in 1971 and they had 2 children together -- daughter Jennifer Ann Johnson and son Joshua Ray Johnson.

Both kids were also star athletes at UCLA!

For those interested in making a donation in Rafer's honor, the family asks to go through The Special Olympics Southern California Rafer Johnson Tribute Fund -- which can be accessed here.

RIP

John Mulaney Secret Service Agents Were On Me For 'SNL' Trump Joke!!!

John Mulaney's "Saturday Night Live" joke about how Julius Caesar was killed drew the ire of some Donald Trump supporters, but even crazier ... he says it made him the target of a Secret Service investigation.

The comedian's 'SNL' monologue from February included the fact Caesar started leap year to correct the calendar, but then he joked the Roman general was such a "powerful maniac" that a bunch of senators stabbed him to death.

Mulaney then added ... it would be interesting if we brought that back now.

Though he made no mention of Trump, the joke was enough for right-wing sites to call him out for allegedly insinuating a violent act should be done to POTUS ... and Mulaney says the Secret Service contacted him about it.

Mulaney says the agent who questioned him was respectful and quickly determined his joke was harmless and he was not a threat ... but nevertheless, the comedian says he now has an official Secret Service file opened on him.

Go ahead and watch the joke for yourself ... sounds like even John sensed he might be crossing the line.

Taylor Swift Here's a Taste of New 'Love Story' ... Thanks to Ryan Reynolds!!!

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1:47 PM PT -- Some eagle-eyed Taylor fans have spotted a potential hidden message in the video. In one scene, there's a scooter next to a trash can with the number 6 spray-painted on a wall. Fans believe it signifies Braun and the 6 albums Taylor is re-recording ... and given Taylor's history with hidden meanings, they're likely right.

Taylor Swift is teasing her first rerecorded hit song ... in a hilarious new ad starring Ryan Reynolds as the devil.

Taylor and Ryan teamed up to pimp the dating site Match, and the commercial features the singer's redo of her 2008 track, "Love Story." It's the first time fans are getting to hear what Taylor's re-recorded masters sound like.

As you know ... Taylor says she's hard at work rerecording her first 6 albums, because she wants ownership of the songs. Remember, her masters were scooped up by Scooter Braun and recently sold again, and Taylor's pissed about not owning her own work.

While Taylor makes it sound like she's far from done in the studio, she says Ryan hit her up asking to use a snippet of her new "Love Story" in the ad and she wanted to give fans a sneak peek.

What's interesting is whether there's any discernible difference from her original 2008 track. Check it out and decide.

Taylor's New 'Love Story'

As a bonus, the commercial is funny as hell ... emphasis on Hell.

Sasha Obama TikTok's a Hit ... Shows Off Her Moves!!!

Barack and Michelle Obama's youngest daughter's just like college-aged daughters all around the world ... because she's blowing up on TikTok.

Former first kid Sasha is the standout star of one of those choreographed TikTok dance vids with a handful of her college friends ... appearing front and center as they bust moves to Popp Hunna's "Adderall (Corvette Corvette)."

The 19-year-old sophomore has mostly avoided the public spotlight since her family left The White House, but it certainly seems like she's enjoying life while keeping a low profile.

Though Sasha's getting a lot of love online for her instant TikTok stardom, it's also notable she's hanging with a group of friends despite ongoing COVID restrictions ... without masks or social distancing.

Barack recently said his girls have mostly been living at home with him and Michelle since March ... but apparently, Sasha got some time away from her parents.

And, to be clear ... Sasha doesn't have her own TikTok account yet, but if she gets one -- based on the response to this 15-second video -- she might give Charli D'Amelio a run for her money on followers.

NASA Mystery Solved Object That Flew By is Space Junk ... Old Rocket Booster!!!

10:36 AM PT -- It's confirmed -- the unknown mass that sped by our planet early Tuesday morning was not an asteroid, proof of alien life or anything else extraordinary ... it's just a Centaur rocket booster from Surveyor 2's doomed mission to the moon in 1966.

NASA scientists were able to definitely prove what they already thought by comparing spectral data from another Centaur booster to 2020 SO ... and found they were consistent.

Great work, everyone!

There's a mysterious object hurtling toward Earth right now that will whiz past us early Tuesday morning, and in perfect 2020 fashion ... nobody's sure what the heck it is.

The unknown space mass has been dubbed "2020 SO," and is set to fly by our planet at an extremely close, but safe, distance of 31,605 miles at 3:50 AM ET December 1.

The object was discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey in Hawaii back in September, and initially, it was believed to be an asteroid measuring an estimated 15-33 feet across.

However, scientists at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) soon began to postulate it wasn't an asteroid or even a "natural body" at all.

Instead, CNEOS director Paul Chodas is on record saying he believes the object is the Centaur rocket booster from NASA's failed Surveyor 2 lunar mission ... which launched way back on September 20, 1966.

Chodas used a bunch of computer science and math to track 2020 SO's orbit backward to come to the conclusion ... that it likely launched from Earth.

Of course, scientists will be able to more closely observe the object as it approaches to determine exactly what it is ... and here's to hoping it's more exciting than a hunk of space junk.

Not likely, though.

Originally Published -- 11/30 3:58 PM PT

'RHOBH' Star Erika Jayne Sued Divorce with Tom's Total Sham ... You're Hiding Money!!!

Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi funded a lavish lifestyle with money intended for plane crash victims and now they're hiding assets with a sham divorce ... according to a new lawsuit.

The "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star and her lawyer hubby are being dragged into court by the law firm Edelson, which is suing him for allegedly embezzling money from a settlement intended to compensate the families of victims of the crash of Lion Air Flight 610.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Edelson -- which also represented the plaintiffs in the Lion Air litigation -- claims Tom used the settlement money to fund his "outrageous lifestyle" with Erika.

Edelson claims Girardi also needed the money to help keep his own law firm afloat, claiming it was is in financial peril from various loans.

And, then there’s this ... Edelson also claims Erika filed to divorce Tom in order to help him hide assets, claiming it believes the November divorce is nothing more than a sham.

We reached out to Erika ... so far, no word back.

TikTok Nightmare Man's Alleged Break-in Captured As Woman Was Recording

unexpected break-in
Tik Tok/@hrviverette

A moment of meditation quickly turned into a frightening one for a woman whose TikTok recording caught the moment a man allegedly busted into her home.

This went down in Hagerstown, Maryland where Hannah Viverette was about to start recording her dance moves ... when the guy opened her patio door and started to walk inside.

You see Hannah immediately startled as the man opens the door. He muttered something in Spanish before asking Hannah, "Am I your friend?" Hannah replies, "No" and tells the guy to leave her apartment.

She walked out of her apartment, while the man appeared to exit from the balcony door.

Cops later arrested Angel Moises Rodriguez-Gomez and charged him with 2 counts of burglary, second-degree assault, stalking and malicious destruction of property.

He was later released on bond ... which Hannah says is pretty terrifying. She told FOX5 Rodriguez-Gomez lives in a nearby building ... so, for now, she's not sleeping at her place.

L.A. Co. Sheriff's Dept. Deputies Tase Man at Car Wreck Scene ... Witness Says He Was Trying to Help

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TASED IN THE STREET
@Dopeslangjr_/Twitter

A man who tried to flag down cops to assist with a car accident is now hospitalized after deputies tased him -- but cops say they took him down because of how he was acting.

L.A. County Sheriff's deputies were responding to the car crash Tuesday when the man ran into the street and blocked their patrol car. People on the scene say the man was trying to get the cops' attention for the accident victims.

However, law enforcement sources tell us the man got hostile when deputies got out to speak with him ... so they tased him. In the video, you see another man run out of a nearby house and yell, "He's not in his right mind" ... referring to the man who was being tased.

Deputies also took down the second guy, slamming him to the ground ... without deploying a taser. We're told both men -- who are related -- were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for injuries. While the second man was cited for battery and obstruction and released ... we're told the guy who was tased is still in the hospital.

The entire incident is under investigation by the Sheriff's Dept. due to the use of force.

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