Things That Matter

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has long been using her platform to creatively advocate for political change in America. In the past, she’s even called on women to partake in a sex strike in response to the onslaught of abortion ban bills that swept the nation. More recently, she’s taken to calling out the elected officials whose careers are most benefitted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Congressperson who received the highest donation from the NRA and other gun-rights organizations is none other than Texas Republican Ted Cruz. 

The two have been spitting fire at each other via Twitter for the last few weeks. All of it culminated in an actual, real-live, live-streamed meeting between the two Tuesday morning. Why was it live-streamed? Because Milano wanted to make sure “the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand.”

Alyssa Milano told Ted Cruz that part of the reason she wanted to meet was to make sure he was a human being. Literally.

Credit: @BIZPACReview / Twitter

“That is why this meeting was so important to me,” she told him during the live stream. “I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat.” Ted Cruz started the meeting by telling Milano that he was a fan of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Commando,” while Milano started by letting Cruz know his politics on gun control “has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

The two talked for more than an hour on gun control, with Milano beginning the conversation by imploring, “I’m asking you, begging you, to have the courage to lead.” In the room was also Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered during the Parkland shooting. 

Cruz didn’t make any revolutionary statements throughout the meeting, arguing that merely having a civil discussion is a triumph.

Credit: @SenTedCruz / Twitter

“This is a divided time. This is an angry time. … I think it is beneficial for is to have a human conversation,” Cruz said. “I also hope that just seeing people on different places on the spectrum, treating people with civility and humanity, that is contagious.” Instead of agreeing to introduce or urge the Senate to discuss new gun control laws, Cruz instead wanted to “focus on policies that would really stop these crimes.” Cruz claims to be leading the charge on preventing mass shootings in America by proposing harsher prosecutions of gun cases and making background checks more “accurate.”

Cruz and Milano agreed to meet last week, after tweeting jabs at each other over their stances on gun control.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

We hear that a lot, right? The “God-given right” to own guns in America. Cruz decided to respond to Milano, tweeting, “it is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-given but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right is the right to DEFEND your life & your family.”

Cruz gave a lengthy (for Twitter) response to Milano:

Credit: @tedcruz / Twitter

He went on to say, “The right to self-defense is recognized repeatedly in the Bible, eg Exodus 22:2: ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night & is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.’ (Note, though, verse 3 says it IS murder if during daylight (ie, not self-defense). The Declaration of Independence acknowledges our rights thusly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, for that reason, the Second Amendment provides “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.” It wasn’t to protect people’s ability to hunt, or to shoot target practice, but to defend their lives, their homes & their families. Stephen Willeford exercised that fundamental right when he risked his own life to stop the Sutherland Springs murderer, saving countless others as a result.” 

Just like that, the meeting was born in resentment and frustration but seemed to end in civil resentment and frustration.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

After the meeting, Milano tweeted, “He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful discussion.” Cruz described the meeting as “productive and respectful.” Basically, nothing noteworthy really happened except for that Alyssa Milano gave Ted Cruz a hug. What is noteworthy is that civil discourse cannot sway the NRA-lined pockets of Ted Cruz.

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights

Researchers Say That You Aren’t Gaining Weight Because Of Your Birth Control

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Researchers Say That You Aren’t Gaining Weight Because Of Your Birth Control

@tanzacochran / Twitter

Like anatomy in general, birth control can be intimidating, confusing, and even a little scary. But it doesn’t have to be! While there are endless ideas about how birth control affects the body (it gives you acne, it makes you gain weight, it changes your moods, lo que sea), the truth is that everyone’s experience is different. For some, all of these claims might be true—and for others, none of them may be. Yet although each form of birth control impacts individuals in unique ways, there are definitely certain trends to watch out for. So if you’re curious about how birth control might affect your body, get ready for some seriously helpful—and possibly surprising!—information.

For years, many healthcare providers and users of birth control have believed that hormonal methods can lead to excessive weight gain. While bodies fluctuate and weight gain happens naturally for lots of different reasons, people often avoid this type of contraception—which includes the patch, the pill, monthly shots, and some IUDs—in order to avoid that alleged extra poundage.

However, many decades of research seem to dispel the myth that hormonal birth control leads to weight gain.

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A 2014 review of 49 trials comparing 52 different birth control methods led to the conclusion that neither pill nor patch caused significant weight gain. Although “the evidence was not strong enough to be sure that these methods did not cause some weight change,” the reviewers found “no major effect on weight.”

Some studies focused on the combined pill (a version of the pill that contains many different—and often synthetic—hormones), while others investigated pills containing real progesterone, a hormone that our bodies naturally produce. The result was clear: no matter the contents, neither type of pill has a side effect of weight gain. Why, then, do we associate a higher number on the scale with the use of contraception?

According to Maria Gallo, an endocrinologist at Ohio State University who co-authored the review, the notion of weight gain as a symptom of birth control is rooted in a natural human bias.

Credit: Womenshealth.gov

Gallo suggests that when people are influenced by certain ideas or patterns (for example, if a small number of people report gaining weight after starting a new medication), those ideas seem to manifest in real life—even if the data doesn’t support those observations.

“It’s the same reason why there’s this idea that vaccines can cause health problems,” says Gallo. “If you give them to a population, you’re going to have some people who have health problems, whether they’re linked to the vaccine or not.”

In regard to the connection between weight and the pill, Gallo acknowledges that adults of both sexes gain roughly a pound each year, beginning in our early twenties. She points out that this is also the age when people start using contraception. Yet while Gallo asserts that the pill-weight connection is ultimately a myth—and that weight gain is likely attributed to different external factors—she confirms that the pill definitely does change the body in other ways.

Reviews indicate that birth control can change a body’s shape and composition, affecting muscle growth, fluid retention, and overall fat distribution.

Credit: Pinterest

A 2009 study showed that women taking a pill with a certain type of synthetic progesterone were unable to achieve their desired muscle gains. The fake progesterone, it turns out, was competing with a natural hormone called DHEA, which helps promote muscle growth. The impact of the synthetic progesterone kept women from meeting their desired fitness goals, because without a certain amount of DHEA, their bodies were incapable of supporting new muscle development.

On top of that, another study found that different hormones have different effects on fat cells. Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for feminine features, like wide hips, breasts, and booty. The fat that lives on these parts of the body is called subcutaneous fat, and it contains a large number of estrogen receptors. So, the study demonstrated that pills with higher estrogen levels often resulted in more subcutaneous fat and, therefore, a more “pear-shaped” silhouette.

And finally, the puffy feeling we all know too well—bloating—may also be a symptom of the pill. While we might feel bloated after un par de tacos or a big bucket of movie popcorn, that sensation is different than bloating caused by hormones. Estrogen impacts the way our bodies metabolize water, so high-estrogen birth control methods can make the body retain more fluid. Sometimes, this fluid seeps into fat cells, causing them to swell and create the illusion of weight gain. This means that while we may not actually be gaining weight, our clothes might fit differently, and we may feel sort of uncomfortable.

All in all, birth control can absolutely impact the way your body functions—it’s designed to do that! The trick is understanding your own body and finding a method that works for you and keeps you feeling healthy.

Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

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Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

@newsmax / Twitter

Kellyanne Conway is as famous for being a counselor to the president as she is for her bizarre word-gymnastics. Who could forget her infamous coining of the term “alternative facts” when arguing about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd in 2017. One thing Conway is not well-known for, however, are her jokes.

On Monday, Conway made an appearance on the popular cable news morning show Fox & Friends to discuss the impeachment hearings that President Trump is embroiled in. Conway, being who she is, arrived on the program with a veritable vault of sound bites ready to be dispensed at the right opportunity. One of these unfortunate soundbites was a hybrid Christmas/impeachment joke that was lame enough to make the dorkiest of dads cringe.

“For all the incredible buying power in this Trump economy, you know what Americans are not buying this holiday season? Impeachment,” she quipped. 

The joke was in response to a question a Fox & Friends co-host posed about whether it was a “tough decision” for Trump’s lawyers to refuse to participate in the impeachment hearings. After insisting that it was “not a tough decision”, Conway launched into a lengthy diatribe, denouncing Trump’s impeachment as “an unconstitutional, illegitimate engagement”. 

Usually a receptive audience, even the Fox & Friends anchors didn’t seem to be impressed with her attempt at word-play. But Conway didn’t stop there. She continued her amateur stand-up routine by likening the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to Inspector Clouseau (the star of “The Pink Panther” franchise).

“If [Nadler] knew what the charges were…we would already know what were in the articles of impeachment,” she told the morning show. “Why is he playing a game of Inspector Clouseau secret squirrel?” 

And as if that weren’t enough, Conway continued her tirade against the House Judiciary committee, virtually filibustering on the illegitimacy of the impeachment. Conway claimed that Democrats were making Trump “a victim to lots of Americans” who just want to “get on with the business of the country”. Conway posited that if Democrats were so convinced of Trump’s guilt, then “why in the world do [they] spend fifteen hours on Saturday and Sunday trying to figure out what the strategy is for today?”.

Conway, never one to back down from some screen-time, continued on her tirade even when a co-host tried to cut off her rambling speech. “Were [the Democrats] at soup kitchens?” she asked, becoming visibly more unhinged as she continued to speak. “Were they at districts putting wreaths on veteran’s graves? Were they there telling seniors how they’re going to lower their prescriptions drugs? Were they there covering the pot holes? Getting the 5G broadband to kids who don’t have it in rural America? No! They were huddled here in the nation’s capital on your dime wasting your time on more impeachment…”

For all the jokes Conway made at the expense of Democrats, if there’s one person who’s not laughing this week, it’s President Trump.

According to Trump’s lawyers, they are refusing to participate in the impeachment proceedings due to the lack of “any semblance of a fair process” by the House Judiciary Committee. As a refresher, The House Judiciary Committee  decided to move forward with impeaching President Trump after releasing a 300-page report detailing the relationship between Trump and Ukraine. This makes Trump the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached.

As for what many people on Twitter weren’t “buying”, it was Conway’s misrepresentation of the facts.

Conway always has  a way of spinning reality, but nonetheless, it’s still irksome to hear her spouting “alternative facts” on national television.

This person didn’t seem to agree on Conway’s assertion that Americans don’t agree with Trump’s impeachment:

Her claim that Democrats are making Trump a “victim” in the eyes of the American people is dubious, at best. 

This person took issue with Conway calling the impeachment “illegitimate”.

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It’s not easy to impeach a president. Considering the many scandals that Trump has been involved with since taking office (and before as well), many people would consider the impeachment is a long-time-coming.

This person was skeptical of Conway’s polling data, when there is public evidence suggesting the contrary. 

According to aggregate polling site fivethirtyeight.com, 47.4% Americans support Trump’s impeachment while 45.6% oppose it.

This person coined a new term:

Although we’ve never heard the phrase “Impeachmas” before, we agree that it has quite a nice ring to it.