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A Senate insider has a dark warning about Mitch McConnell: Expect the worst

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Democrat Adam Jentleson can recite chapter and verse about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bitter partisanship: he served as deputy chief of staff for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during the Obama years. And in an interview with New York Magazine, Jentleson has a warning for President-elect Joe Biden: expect the worst from McConnell.

Jentleson discusses the state of the U.S. Senate in his upcoming book, “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy.” It remains to be seen whether McConnell will be Senate majority leader or Senate minority leader in 2021 — that will be determined by what happens in the two U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia in January. And when New York Magazine’s Ben Jacobs asked Jentleson, during the interview, “how important” the outcome of those Senate races will be for Biden’s incoming administration, he replied, “It’s all the difference in the world.”

Jentleson told Jacobs, “It is night and day. That ranges from prospects for passing legislation and having his nominees confirmed to who controls the committees and the day-to-day business and sets the agenda of the Senate. So, it’s two seats that could lead to two very different prospects for Joe Biden when he is inaugurated in January.”

The former Reid staff added, “If Democrats win those two seats, even though it’s the barest majority possible . . . that means that instead of Mitch McConnell deciding what bill is on the floor every single day, it will be Chuck Schumer in that decision seat. And it means that instead of Lindsey Graham or another Republican overseeing all of Biden’s judicial picks, it will be a Democrat . . . And that goes all the way down, from Supreme Court picks to circuit and district court picks. So, it is just a massive difference.”

Biden and McConnell go way back. The 78-year-old president-elect served in the U.S. Senate from January 1973 to January 2009, when he was sworn in as President Barack Obama’s vice president — and McConnell, who is also 78, was first elected to the Senate via Kentucky in 1984. McConnell has always been quite conservative, but in recent years, he has grown much more vindictive. For example, McConnell blocked many of Obama’s judicial nominees and wouldn’t even consider Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, in 2016. Obama was clearly willing to meet McConnell half way with the Garland nomination, proposing someone who was quite centrist in his judicial philosophy. But McConnell was determined to block anyone Obama nominated, however moderate.

When Jacobs asked Jentleson if it is a “given” that “McConnell and Senate Republicans are never negotiating in good faith,” he responded, “Yes . . . Even Republicans who demonstrate good faith in private are operating in a system that demands they toe the line of their base. Their base is not going to want to see them cut deals with Biden.”

Jentleson warned, “I’m pretty pessimistic. I think that most of what Biden is going to want to get done is going to have to be done through executive action.”

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Glass skin 101: The five steps to achieving that radiant glow, Lifestyle News

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Glass skin is a Korean beauty trend that first went viral in 2017 and one that, as consumers become ever more aware and knowledgeable about skincare, continues to attract interest.

You might think glass skin so impossibly perfect that it looks Photoshopped, and that it’s something only celebrities and influencers can hope to achieve. Not so.

Glass skin is simply your skin at its healthiest; it is about making it appear smooth, plump and radiant. The trick is taking the time to get to know your skin and what it needs, and to consistently treat it how it needs to be treated.

The most important thing to remember about skincare is that it needs to be tailored for each person. What works for your best friend or even a sibling may not work for you. The principles remain the same, however.

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Double cleanse

The foundation of any K-beauty skincare routine is clean skin, which is especially important at night. In the morning, a gentle cleanse with a gel or cream product may suffice, but in the evening after a day of being out and about and wearing make-up or sunscreen, it’s essential to do a first cleanse with an oil or balm cleanser. 

Many with oily skin will resist using an oil cleanser, but the truth is oil attracts oil.

By first using an oil cleanser or a balm one that emulsifies, you’re not only drawing out all the make-up, you’re also – in time – reducing the oiliness of your skin. Follow with a second cleanse using a cleanser that suits your skin type, and gently pat dry with a towel.

Exfoliate

The same way oily-skinned people avoid oil cleansers, those with dry skin often avoid exfoliants. The key is to use exfoliants in moderation, and pick a form that works for you.

Exfoliating helps reduce the accumulation of product or dead skin cells, which will help you achieve the smoothness that’s part of glass skin. It will also help products to reach and treat your epidermis and dermis better, so you’re not wasting their ingredients.

Ideally, if your skin can handle it, you should use a gentle physical exfoliant (the ones with scrubbies you can feel) once or twice a week, but do remember to be gentle.

You should also try to work into your daily routine a product with chemical exfoliants containing AHA (alpha hydroxy acids), BHA (beta hydroxy acids) or PHA (polyhydroxy acids) ingredients.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a toner with such ingredients in its formula.

Chemical exfoliants are gentler than physical ones and, used consistently, will help resurface the skin and reduce any texture you might have.

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Mask up

The same way we need to treat ourselves to a staycation or a decadent dessert every once in a while, your skin should also get a treat once or twice a week.

Alternate between a detoxifying or resurfacing mask, such as the Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial or the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment, and a nourishing one like the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask or La Mer The Treatment Lotion Hydrating Mask throughout the week.

Remember to follow up right away with your basic skincare routine to lock in the goodness.

Hydration

While the amount of hydration needed differs for everyone, the basis of glass skin is well-hydrated skin. For this, it’s important to seek out a basic routine that works for you.

The reason the most elaborate K-beauty routine involves so many steps isn’t extravagance – it is to slowly introduce as much hydration to the skin as it can stand.

You don’t need to do following treatment every day – who has the time?

But once a week (or whenever you can) as a self-care treat, cleanse your face and, while you’re watching an episode of your favourite show, spend 20 minutes applying layer after layer of an essence to your face with clean hands.

While your skin is still damp from cleansing, pour a bit of essence into your palms and pat it onto your face and neck. Don’t wait for it to dry completely; the whole point is to keep your skin damp and repeat.

You’ll still want to top it off with your moisturiser, or even a beauty oil to really lock in the hydration while you sleep.

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Sun protection

There’s no escaping it: sun damage wreaks havoc on your skin. From discolouration to dehydration that leads to excessive oiliness, clogged pores and blemishes, the sun isn’t your skin’s friend.

So to achieve glass skin, it’s best to incorporate a product with an SPF (sun protection factor) that works for you.

If you have oily skin, you may prefer a chemical formula that feels more lightweight. Luckily for those of us in Asia, Korean and Japanese sunscreens have perfected the art of barely there SPF.

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However, if your skin leans a bit more sensitive, you may have to use a physical formula instead, but increasingly there are physical sunscreens on the market that aren’t heavy or greasy.

As with anything to do with our skin, don’t be impatient and try not to get frustrated. It takes a while to settle on a regime that speaks to your skin type. Also, don’t forget that your regime might require tweaking depending on the weather and climate you’re in.

It also takes a while to fall into a routine and to stick to it, but consistency is key.

Take your time to create a basic skincare routine that involves a first cleanse, second cleanse, toner, essence, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen, and add in supplementary treatments as necessary.

Your skin is your body’s biggest organ: treat it as such and in time you’ll be looking at beautifully healthy glass skin in your reflection.

Ingredients to look out for to achieve glass skin

AHA/BHA/PHA

The holy trinity of hydroxy acids, these are your saviours in “ungluing” dull, dead skin cells and resurfacing the skin.

AHAs, which are water soluble, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, can help with signs of ageing and texture, as well as hydration.

Meanwhile, BHAs that are oil soluble and can penetrate deeper into the skin, such as salicylic acid, help address problems most commonly experienced by those of us with oily skin, such as blackheads and acne.

Finally, PHAs work similarly to AHAs but have bigger molecules, which makes them a gentler option. If you’ve not played with hydroxy acids before, PHAs might be the place to start.

Niacinamide

A recent skincare darling, niacinamide is probably already in some of your products , but more deliberate use can really benefit your skin. A form of vitamin B3, which is an essential nutrient for your skin, this ingredient can treat concerns including acne and eczema.

In fact, niacinamide has many benefits: it helps your skin build a barrier, which helps you retain hydration, an absolute must for glass skin; soothes redness and inflammation; protects against sun damage; and minimises fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid

Commonly said to be able to retain 1,000 times its own weight in water, hyaluronic acid is fantastic for humid places.

If you use this ingredient, make sure to apply it while your skin is still damp and immediately lock it in with an occlusive moisturiser so the water molecules it attracts won’t evaporate from your skin.

When conditions are less humid and it can’t attract moisture from the air, it’ll draw it from somewhere else – your skin – and that’s not what we want.

Vitamin C

If you want healthy skin, this is a non-negotiable ingredient in your skincare routine. Vitamin C is a mighty antioxidant and defends your skin against free radicals . It also encourages your skin’s natural regeneration, and an efficient cell turnover process is what you want for consistently clear, untextured skin.

To really let vitamin C shine, you should absolutely pair it with SPF during the day. Vitamin C boosts sun protection and helps you avoid burns, wrinkles, discolouration and collagen loss.

Retinol

An absolute titan in skincare, retinol is a vitamin A derivative that helps with skin turnover, which reduces signs of ageing as well as acne.

With consistent use over time, it stimulates the production of collagen (a protein that binds tissues) and elasticity, and keeps plumper cells closer to the surface of the skin for a more youthful appearance.

Peptides

It’s inevitable we lose collagen as we age, but instead of ingesting or slapping collagen on your face and hoping it’ll do something, what you want to do instead is to encourage your skin to produce it itself.

Peptides are made up of amino acids that penetrate the skin, trick it into thinking it has lost collagen, and stimulate collagen production.

Ceramides

Naturally present in our skin, ceramides are lipids that bind surface skin cells together.

A common ingredient in many moisturisers, they help strengthen the skin barrier, prevent transepidermal water loss (water loss from the skin), and help skin retain hydration and moisture.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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“Juno” and “Umbrella Academy” actor Elliot Page comes out as transgender in heartfelt letter

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“Juno” Oscar nominee and “The Umbrella Academy” star Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, has come out as transgender and non-binary in a heartfelt post published to his social media pages. “Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot,” the actor writes in an open letter. “I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”

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“I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey,” Page continues. “I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society.”

Page got his start with breakout film roles in “Hard Candy” and “Juno,” the latter of which earned him an Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category. A year before “Juno” catapulted Page to the mainstream, he appeared as the mutant Kitty Pryde in “X-Men: The Last Stand,” a role he would reprise in the sequel film “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Page’s other acting credits include Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and the Julianne Moore-starring lesbian drama “Freeheld.”

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“I love that I am trans,” Page writes in his letter. “And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse and the threat of violence every day. I see you, I love you and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better. “

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Page currently stars on the blockbuster Netflix comic book series “The Umbrella Academy,” which debuted its second season earlier this year and will return at a later date for a third season. Read Page’s full coming out letter in the Instagram post below.

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