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.

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.

Lou Holtz Receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom ... from Donald Trump

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Ex-college football coach Lou Holtz will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, the White House announced.

The award is recognized as the "Nation's highest civilian honor," according to the White House ... usually given to someone who has "made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public endeavors."

So, why Lou? Here's what Trump's team is saying ...

"America recognizes Lou Holtz as one of the greatest football coaches of all time for his unmatched accomplishments on the gridiron, but he is also a philanthropist, author and true American patriot."

83-year-old Holtz is most well known for leading Notre Dame to a 12-0 record in 1988 -- when the Fighting Irish were crowned national champions.

His career record as a college football coach is 249-132-7 -- with 22 bowl appearances (he won 12 of them).

Outside of football, Holtz has been a staunch Trump supporter who campaigned for POTUS ... and even spoke at the Republican National Convention.

In fact, it was at the RNC when Holtz attacked Trump's opponent Joe Biden over his position on abortion -- saying the former Vice President is a "Catholic in name only."

During his presidency, Trump has given the M.O.F. to several sports legends -- including Tiger Woods, Jerry West and Roger Staubach.

Coronavirus Restrictions Cops Raid NYC Bar ... Patrons Vow Seattle-esque Protests!!!

A Staten Island bar's ripping a page from Seattle protesters' playbook by declaring an "autonomous zone" that's defying New York's COVID-19 restrictions ... and its patrons seem willing to go down fighting.

Sheriff's deputies raided Mac's Public House and shut it down Tuesday night for defying coronavirus health orders ... it was continuing to serve customers indoors. One of the owners, Danny Presti, was arrested for not cooperating during the raid -- and his loyal customers are pissed.

As Presti was being hauled out of his pub, a dozen or so patrons gathered outside in protest ... chanting "Hands off Mac's Public House."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

As the unrest grew outside the bar, State Sen. Andrew Lanza showed up in an attempt to play peaceful mediator between Presti's lawyer, angry supporters and the authorities ... while also trying to get an explanation why Presti was arrested.

It doesn't seem like it came to a satisfactory conclusion though, especially for one fan of Mac's who's trying to rally a massive demonstration Wednesday night.

CALL FOR ACTION
@scottlobaido / TikTok

The guy posted his call to action as the raid was going down, pointing out what he feels is the hypocrisy of the new lockdown rules, and says he wants a thousand people lined up in front of Mac's to protest. Referring to the government, he shouted, "If they fear you, they won't f**k with you!!!"

Things definitely could get interesting tonight in Staten Island, which by the way ... is a state-designated coronavirus hot spot.

Homophobic 'Karen' Bad Biz Reviews Pour In After Rant ... Yelp Gives Her a Break

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HURLING OBSCENITIES

Gina Bisignano -- the latest "Karen" to let hate speech fly -- received major business backlash for her bigotry on Yelp ... where people loaded her page with negative reviews until postings got temporarily shut down.

Bisignano owns a beauty biz in Beverly Hills called Gina's Eyelashes and Skincare, so after seeing video of her spewing homophobic comments at an L.A. protest of COVID lockdowns ... it seems several outraged Internet users took it out on her shop's Yelp page.

It got flooded with bad reviews, and got so bad so quickly Yelp decided to temporarily suspend the option to leave a review.

If a person tries, they get this message instead -- "This business recently received increased public attention in the news, which often means people come to this page to post their views on the news rather than a first-hand consumer experience."

Here's a sample of some of the reviews that were left beforehand though ...

-- "Owner of this salon is a blatant racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, conspiracy theorist, tar faced loser."

-- "If you want tarantula lashes and a corpse complexion, please call this bigot for your next KKK gathering."

-- "This place is great. They help create the illusion of beauty on the outside, so I can hide all my hateful, Q conspiracies, and homophobia on the inside."

Yelp says it's working to investigate whether this batch of new reviews "reflects actual consumer experiences rather than the recent events."

As we reported ... so far Gina's only response to the fallout from her public, anti-gay display is announcing on Facebook, "I was attacked online."

Joe Biden Suited and Booted ... Emphasis on Das Boot

THIS BOOT IS MADE FOR WALKIN'
C-SPAN

Joe Biden is giving his broken foot woes the boot ... quite literally.

The President-elect was spotted Tuesday in Wilmington, DE, popping into the Queen Theater to announce new cabinet members, and he was dressed to the nines in his usual navy blue suit ... now accessorized with a walking boot on his right foot.

Doesn't look like the boot was giving JB much trouble ... after exiting his SUV (without assistance) he struck a pose, lifting the boot pretty high, almost like a soldier. When asked how he's feeling, he flashed a thumbs up.

By the looks of it, Biden's probably gonna be just fine ... a vast improvement from how fragile he looked limping out of his doctor's office over the weekend.

Of course, that's not to downplay the seriousness of his injury -- remember, his doctor said he suffered a hairline fracture in his middle foot area when he took a tumble playing with his German shepherd, Major.

Biden will be in a boot for the foreseeable future -- several weeks the doc predicts -- so get used to these images.

BTS Gets Pass from S. Korea on Military Service ... We'll Give Ya 2 Extra Years

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BTS is so big, they just forced their government to give 'em a longer leash on when they'll have to drop everything and enlist in the military ... which is unprecedented.

South Korea has long had a law called the Military Service Act -- which requires every able-bodied male in the country to serve at least 20 months before they turn 28 ... and K-Pop boy band members were no exception.

On Tuesday, however, the parliament tweaked that -- allowing top K-Pop artists (who receive government accolades) a 2-year deferment, which they specifically did to appease the oldest BTS member, Kim Seok-jin, who turns 28 this week.

S. Korea's justification for bending the rules ... BTS brings so much cultural and economic prosperity to the country -- especially now that they've broken through with international audiences -- it'd be a shame to rip a key member away when he's about to be in the prime of his musical career.

Mind you, K-Pop singers will NOT be completely exempt from serving -- they'll have to put down the mic and pick up a gun by at least 30 under this rule change ... but the fact S. Korea bent over backward for their biggest boy band is astounding.

Strangely, the nation does allow certain exemptions to their conscription policy -- Korean Olympic athletes who get medals, and Korean musicians who get awards don't have to serve at all, so long as they're internationally recognized as such.

Sounds like all you have to do there to get off the hook is bring in a little prestige (and dough) ... and you're set!

Barack Obama Yeah, I Was Briefed on UFOs But I'm Not Sayin' What's Up!!!

KEEPIN' IT A SECRET
CBS

Barack Obama got the lowdown as Prez on UFOs -- or the lack thereof -- and although he won't say if space aliens are a thing, his facial reactions are more than interesting.

Obama appeared on 'The Late Show' Monday night and Stephen Colbert asked the burning question ... whether 44 was briefed on UFOs. He was quick to answer -- yes. After all, the Roswell mystery has survived for decades, so presidents are all looped in.

So SC asked the obvious followup ... what do ya know?  For that, you just gotta watch his reaction. Colbert thinks it's a giveaway ... that there's something in the air.

Obama knows UFOs are real

I believe in UFOs

Then again, Obama could be clowning everyone ... after all, he's played his share of poker, but Colbert thinks the Prez betrayed his poker face and gave an answer loud and clear.

Obama cleverly deflects with an observation about conspiracy theories, so no clear answer.

Barack Obama President Trump Is a Golf Cheat 'Problems with the Scoring'

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SUSPICIOUS SCORING
CBS

President Obama just hit President Trump where it hurts -- right in the golf bag.

#44 basically called #45 a cheater during an interview on "The Later Show with Stephen Colbert" -- explaining how Trump has a reputation for fudging his scorecards.

"Listen from what I understand he’s actually a pretty good golfer," Obama said at first before dropping the cheating allegation.

"I understand that shockingly enough there’s sometimes problems with the scoring. And whether he’s keeping track of his strokes."

BOOM!!!

Hey, for Obama -- that's about a big of a shot as he's gonna take ... but look at the way he smirks as he makes the comment, he KNOWS it's gonna bother Trump!

Fact is, Obama's not the only person to accuse POTUS of cheating on the links ... remember, Oscar De La Hoya has said he's watched Trump cheat first hand.

"I witnessed it. He outright cheated," Oscar said in 2016 ... "not once, not twice but 3 times."

Sportswriter Rick Reilly has also publicly accused Trump of being a golf cheater -- saying the guy sometimes uses Secret Service agents to gain an unfair playing advantage.

Kim Jong-Un Gets COVID Vaccine from China ... Analyst Claims

Kim Jong-Un is more like Donald Trump than we think, in that he's reportedly willing to take experimental coronavirus treatments ... including an unproven vaccine.

A new report citing Japanese intelligence officials claims the North Korean dictator and his inner circle within the government have all gotten a 'rona vaccine from China within the last 2 to 3 weeks.

Unclear which pharmaceutical company developed the vaccine for Kim and co., but there are apparently 3 main players out there that have been working on some ... none of which have launched final-stage clinical trials.

So, in other words ... right up DT's alley. You'll recall -- POTUS received a few drugs during his bout with 'rona (some of which were experimental) ... such as dexamethasone, remdesivir and Regeneron's antibody therapy.

I GOT THIS GLOW ...
Fox News

Kim getting vaccinated is interesting because N. Korea as a whole's been in denial about the pandemic -- the country's officially denied tracing even one confirmed case of COVID-19 ... which no one believes, of course.

They've also reportedly closed off the border with China ... beefing up security to keep people from crossing in either direction.

Ya gotta wonder if Kim's 'rona shot worked, would he give it to his people? Something tells us that's a long shot.

Russian TV Obama Skit In Blackface

DISGUSTING DEPICTION

TV is something else in Russia, where they're running bits with actors dressed in blackface portraying Barack Obama.

The skit aired as part of a satirical show on Russia's NTV channel ... and it's roughly 90 seconds of pure racism. The actor playing Obama is in blackface, wearing a red bandana and a bunch of bling, plus black gloves and an oversized t-shirt.

It's pretty much stereotype bingo.

The skit's entirely in Russian, but 3 English words come across clearly -- Black Lives Matter. As for what they said about it ... the host begins: "We now go live to the dark side of America's history, Barack Obama."

After the Obama character's BLM chant, the host says ... "Can you please stop shouting? We don't have racism. You could be taken for a gypsy."

There's also a reference to Obama's recently released memoir, with the blackface actor calling the book an achievement because "none of my relatives that came before me could write."

It's the sort of thing that gets folks canceled these days ... in America, anyway.

Joe Biden Fractures Foot Playing with Dog .... Boot Life for Weeks

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5:33 PM PT -- Yikes ... Biden's sprain just upgraded to a fracture, which will have him living the boot life for a good while.

Biden's doctor says that although initial X-rays did not show any obvious facture in his right foot, further imaging from a CT scan confirmed he'd suffered hairline fractures on his lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones ... which are in the mid-foot area.

His doc adds, "It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks." Oof ...

4:00 PM PT -- Here's Joe Biden leaving his doctor's office after being preliminarily examined, and while there's no fracture or break ... it's clear he hurt himself pretty bad.

The man's walking gingerly with a slight limp. Luckily, there was a waiting car ready to pick him up and take him away. He also some handlers on hand for assistance.

3:11 PM PT -- Looks like Joe's gonna be alright after all -- his doctor says he suffered a sprain in his right foot, but that X-rays showed no obvious sign of a fracture.

President-elect Joe Biden might be limping his way into the White House -- the guy twisted his ankle this weekend playing with his dog ... and is getting checked out just in case.

Biden was injured Saturday while playing with his German Shepherd, Major. He slipped and twisted his ankle in the process. Out of an abundance of caution, his team says he'll be examined by an orthopedist Sunday afternoon.

Reporters weren't allowed to view Biden going in or out of the doctor's office, per his team's request.

First of all, ouch. Second ... the news is both awesome and somewhat scary. It's great that Biden is active and able-bodied enough to play with his dog, and apparently feisty to the point that he could actually hurt himself ... even slightly.

It'll be cool having a Prez that gets out and there and ruffs it every now and then -- unlike Trump, whose only physical activity is golf ... which is pretty static.

On the other hand, Biden is an older guy ... he's 78. A sprained ankle isn't gonna make or break anything (we hope), but maybe take it easy out there, JB. We're gonna need ya intact for at least 4 years ... so tell Major (and Champ) to cool it.

Get well soon.

Originally Published -- 1:40 PM PT

Herman Cain Assistant Battles His Widow ... He Promised Me Gold Bars!!!

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Herman Cain's widow has a fight on her hands with her late husband's assistant ... who claims Herman promised her a severance package ... and had gold and cash stashed to cover it.

Lisa Reichert -- who says she was Herman's executive assistant for 9 years until his death -- filed docs in Henry County, Georgia opposing Gloria Cain's attempt to serve as administrator to Herman's estate.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Lisa claims Gloria grossly understated Herman's assets and failed to list gold coins and bars she claims were stored in Herman's safe deposit box, along with other cash.

So, why does she care? Well, Lisa claims the estate failed to acknowledge her severance claim, which she says Herman repeatedly promised to pay her when he was alive. Lisa fears if Gloria's appointed administrator of the estate she'll distribute the $482k in assets she listed without setting aside enough to cover her claim against the estate.

Lisa wants a court-appointed neutral administrator instead of Gloria to handle the estate.

As we reported, Herman died from COVID-19 on July 30, not long after he attended President Trump's Tulsa rally ... where he, and almost everyone else, was not wearing a mask.

Hermosa Beach MAGA Caravan 2 Trumper Vehicles Involved in Crash ... Civilian Car Flips Over!!!

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Road rage
TMZ.com

A road rage incident that involved two vehicles decked out in MAGA gear and a third civilian car sent the latter toppling over after it lost control and crashed ... and the video is insane.

TMZ has obtained footage of the scary wreck that went down late Saturday afternoon in Hermosa Beach, CA -- which is thought of to be a pretty liberal part of town. Welp, for some reason ... there were two drivers who wanted to put on a mini caravan down the narrow beachside streets ... with Trump flags waving high and proud.

Eyewitnesses tell us while they were stopped at an intersection -- with both cars taking up the two lanes on the one-way road -- a third car (possibly a Mustang) pulled up behind them and that driver started jawboning at the MAGA convertible.

You even see the guy get out of his car for a bit and cuss out the MAGA convertible driver. He eventually got back in his car ... and drivers of the three cars gunned it, almost like they were racing each other.

The convertible went up ahead, and it was just the Mustang and the MAGA Jeep next to each other for a second -- all of a sudden, you see the Mustang lose control and clip a long row of parked cars on its left-hand side ... and then completely flip over. It's terrifying -- and you can tell in how bystanders reacted.

Cops responded quickly -- but even before that, eyewitnesses claim people standing by and watching jumped into action ... because there was supposedly a baby onboard. We're told one of the MAGA vehicles -- the convertible -- appeared to have fled the scene, while the Jeep stayed behind ... because it too was damaged.

We got a call in to Hermosa Beach PD to see how the crash victims are doing, and if there's any truth to the other vehicle fleeing or not ... so far, no word back.

Donald Trump Of Course I'll Leave The White House, But ...

Sure, I'll move out
CNN

Donald Trump seemed to concede something that has Bill Maher and many others worried sick ... that he won't leave The White House on January 20.

Trump now says he will indeed leave 1600 Pennsylvania if the Electoral College declares Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election. There were certainly signs he would not vacate, especially since he has refused to concede the election.

He's still claiming massive voter fraud -- without evidence -- so that's why his declaration is significant. He even compares the U.S. to a third world country.

As for attending Biden's inauguration ... he wouldn't commit, but listen to how Trump frames his answer. He seems to say he might attend, but emphasis on "seems." If Trump does show up on the Capitol steps, it would be pretty shocking given what he's said about the results and Biden himself.

Old news is old news!
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