Daily Beast

Fox Host Swipes at Brittney Griner While Announcing Her Release

Fox Business NetworkMaria Bartiromo just couldn’t help but get in a dig at Brittney Griner’s patriotism while announcing her release from a Russian prison camp after close to a year in custody for carrying a miniscule amount of cannabis oil through the Moscow airport back in February.After interviewing a former FBI agent who questioned the “political motive” behind the Biden administration’s decision to swap Griner for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Bartiromo shared her own prediction about how the WNBA star’s character might be affected by her harrowing experience.“I wonder if her stance on American freedom and liberty changes after what she went through, the horror show she had to face,” the Fox Business host said. “Of course, she did attack the national anthem in basketball back in the day.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Celine Dion’s ‘Very Rare’ Diagnosis Is No Joke

Gonzalo Fuentes/ReutersCeline Dion’s heartbreaking announcement that she was forced to pull out of her tour due to “a very rare neurological disorder” has sparked an outpouring of sympathy, shock—and flat-out confusion over what the hell stiff person syndrome is.While many may have initially found themselves wondering if the diagnosis was real, experts say the disease is no joke.Affecting between one and two people in a million, the “very rare disease” leaves the afflicted suffering progressive muscle stiffness and painful spasms, according to Johns Hopkins. “These symptoms can lead to difficulty walking and, over time, even greater disability,” Yale Medicine notes.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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‘Catastrophe for Paul’: Whelan Left Out of Griner Prisoner Swap

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via GettyFormer U.S. Marine Paul Whelan was still stuck behind bars in Russia even as WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release sparked celebrations early Thursday. A lawyer for Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in June 2020 for what he described as bogus espionage charges, was quoted as telling Russia’s Interfax news agency that Whelan remains at his penal colony as talks on his release continue. Whelan’s name was initially floated as part of a potential prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, but with Bout’s release in exchange for Griner this week, it’s not clear if that leverage was lost.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Brittney Griner Is Freed in Prisoner Swap With ‘Merchant of Death’

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Getty Brittney Griner was released by Russian authorities on Thursday as part of a prisoner swap deal after being held for nearly a year on drug charges.U.S. authorities have released Russian international arms dealer Viktor Bout to complete the swap. WNBA athlete Griner had been jailed in Russia following her arrest at Moscow airport in February after cannabis-derived oil was found in her luggage. CBS News first reported that the deal had been completed Thursday, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirming the exchange to RIA Novosti. The ministry said the swap took place at Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates. In a tweet, President Joe Biden shared pictures of himself alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, in the Oval Office. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” the post read. “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Royal Insider Taunts Netflix: ‘Harry & Meghan’ Is a $100M Bust

Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesFriends of the royal family brushed off the first three episodes of the new Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan Thursday, expressing relief that the show hadn’t made any fresh serious allegations against the royal family.However one source said that the show was nonetheless a betrayal, and that it would cement the toxic status of relations between William and Harry.Hours after the episodes dropped, communications were running hot between senior palace aides and advisors, but the over-riding sense was one of relief that the show landed no major blows on the family, largely repeating already well-known stories and focusing on the couple’s widely publicized sense of the wickedness of the media.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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The Ruse That Could Dupe Putin Into Another Crushing Ambush

Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesJust weeks after Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Kherson in Ukraine and kicked Russian forces out, major questions remain over which counteroffensive campaign Kyiv will launch next—and where Russia’s next defeat will be as the cold winter weather begins to settle in.Tackling Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region could be a logical next step for Ukrainian forces. A win in Zaporizhzhia would help Ukraine cut off Russia’s land bridge to Crimea, the peninsula Vladimir Putin illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014 and has been occupying ever since. Russia’s hold on Crimea is even more vulnerable now that Kherson—a key foothold just north of Crimea—is back in Ukrainian hands.In signs they may be anticipating a fight, Russian forces are working on bolstering their defenses near Zaporizhzhia, though analysts say there are no indications of a buildup of troops or equipment near Zaporizhzhia, according to The Washington Post.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Donald Trump Doesn’t Respect (or Even Understand) the Constitution

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / GettyThe “revelation” that former President Donald Trump supports the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution—if that’s what it takes to make him president again—is hardly worthy of the name.Trump’s comment—which he posted to Truth Social on Saturday and vehemently denied on Monday—is a slightly more explicit rejection of constitutional constraints than he’s ventured in the past. But it’s perfectly in line with his longstanding opposition to any inviolable limits on state power when that power is in his own hands, or at least wielded for his benefit. That Trump has never cared about the Constitution is the most obvious thing in the world.This apathy was evident well before Trump formally entered politics. One early indicator was his disturbing affection for eminent domain, the government’s authority to take private property for public use provided it makes “just compensation” to the owner. Eminent domain is grounded in the Fifth Amendment, so the bare concept is not unconstitutional, but in 2005 the Supreme Court substantially expanded the doctrine, allowing “public use” to include private development the government happens to think is a good idea.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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Taylor Dayne Says Kirstie Alley’s Death Is a Wake-Up Call

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty ImagesTaylor Dayne remembers meeting Kirstie Alley about 25 years ago at a Super Bowl party in Florida and the pair becoming instant friends.“She was just so funny, exuberant, full of life. She was like, ‘Come back to my house.’ I think we were in Tampa. I really loved that woman,” the musician told The Daily Beast. “She was a truly lovely, beautiful human being who brought a lot of joy and a lot of fun and a lot of happiness and was very truthful and honest with her life.”Dayne, 60, says it came as a huge shock to her when she heard of the 71-year-old actress’s death this week from colon cancer—the very disease she found herself diagnosed with in July. Alley’s two children, True and Lillie Parker, posted the news about their mother’s death on Twitter on Monday evening, saying the Emmy winner had “only recently discovered” she had colon cancer.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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GOP Officials Said Twitter’s Hunter Biden Ban Wasn’t Corrupt

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/FECPay Dirt is a weekly foray into the pigpen of political funding. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Thursday.As conservatives re-up their criticism of Twitter for supposedly interfering in the 2020 election with its two-day ban on an unverified story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, it’s worth noting that Republican federal election officials already cleared the company of that specific charge.Last Friday night, Twitter CEO Elon Musk released “the Twitter Files,” a behind-the-scenes account of the social media giant’s controversial decision in the run-up to the 2020 election to temporarily restrict circulation of the New York Post’s unconfirmed report about the contents of a laptop hard drive supposedly belonging to Hunter Biden.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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‘Spoiler Alert’: The Hero Dies in the Gay Love Story of the Year

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty ImagesSeven-and-a-half years ago, Michael Ausiello said goodbye to his husband, Kit Cowan, who died of cancer. He has been saying goodbye to him—grieving him, remembering him, celebrating him—almost constantly since.He said goodbye to him in his book, Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, about meeting and falling in love with Kit and caring for him at the end of his life, which he wrote while still in the grieving process. He said goodbye again on the book’s press tour, speaking to writers like me, to his friends, and to celebrities who are mentioned in it, like Kristen Bell and Keri Russell. Ausiello is an entertainment journalist, who wrote for TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly before founding the website TVLine.com. He got the phone call that Kit might have cancer while on the set of The Americans waiting to interview Russell. After a doctor gave Kit his prognosis, Ausiello had to film an on-camera conversation with Bell.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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