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Lifestyle

Can I just skip my lame office Zoom holiday party?

My boss is holding a virtual holiday party where we are supposed to wear an ugly sweater. He also wants us to do some stupid white elephant game by sending a gift to his assistant, who will then send them out to a random member of the team. I am Zoomed out, and this forced merriment might just push me over the edge. Do I have to participate?

Sounds like someone needs to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Listen, George Bailey, we are all Zoomed out and want to say goodbye to 2020 as fast as possible. In theory, you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do, but sometimes, it helps to just be silly with family, friends and, yes, even your colleagues, to help ease the tension and stress of daily life.

Maybe you don’t go out and buy one of those sweaters designed to win an ugly contest — or maybe you already have one in your closet that you didn’t mean to enter into a contest but would be a strong competitor anyway — but play along. And do the stupid white elephant game, too. It’s better than having to figure out the perfect real gift for someone at work. Now, that is stressful.

Can my employer restrict my travel plans this holiday season?

The government can restrict travel, and some government officials are trying to tell us how many family members we can celebrate Thanksgiving with. They are also urging that you don’t sing or shout. (Have they ever been to an Italian family gathering?)

Employers have to tread far more carefully. They can recommend that staff avoid travel and require employees to report any personal travel plans, given the workplace impact with possible infections, exposures and quarantines.

They can also require compliance with any current CDC travel restrictions.

However, restricting any personal travel beyond what the government mandates is unchartered territory, so it’s highly unlikely to be strictly prohibited.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com, dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work.

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World News

Time is just not on Trump’s side to overturn 2020 election results: Goodwin

In calendar time, it’s less than three weeks since the election. In political time, it’s beginning to feel like an eternity.

President Trump has every right to pursue substantive court challenges and doing so does not undermine democracy, despite what the left insists. But at some point, much of the broad public’s patience will wear thin.

Tick tock, tick tock.

We haven’t reached that point, but it is rapidly approaching because key state deadlines come this week and the president’s legal team has not scored any court victories that can delay finality.

At its exhaustive press conference Thursday, the team, led by Rudy Giuliani, outlined a sweeping theory of a “national conspiracy” by Democrats to steal the election. A map highlighting Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia was titled “Multiple Pathways to Victory,” as if this were a pre-election, get-out-the-vote event.

To support his charges, Giuliani cited mostly individual affidavits where voters and poll workers reported seeing or hearing about fraudulent activities. The sworn statements, even if true, did not seem to match the scope of the broad claims.

He was followed by lawyer Sidney Powell, who added a whole other dimension to the charges.

“What we are really dealing with here is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China and the interference with our elections here in the United States,” Powell insisted. “This is 1775 of our generation and beyond.”

Such language aims to stir the heart of patriots, but will ring hollow in a courtroom unless she has solid evidence. If she does, she’s done a great job of keeping it secret.

That’s not to say there wasn’t fraud and human error. Of course there was. That happens in most elections, and this one was especially vulnerable given the turnout (about 160 million voters) and the tsunami of mail-in ballots, which are easier to manipulate.

Also, Democrats invited suspicions by intentionally lowering safeguards, including barring GOP observers in urban areas, where they ran up big margins. Still, the overarching fact is that the Trump legal team hasn’t presented a provable claim that looks likely to overturn the results in a single state.

Even in traditionally red Georgia, several thousand ballots that were not counted initially were found in a recount, but the results cut only marginally into Joe Biden’s lead, which is now 12,670 votes, or 0.25 percent.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp certified those results Friday, handing 16 electoral votes to Biden. Trump can demand another recount because the margin was so small.

The president’s hopes in Pennsylvania and Michigan are slimmer because the margins are greater, and Monday is the certification deadline in both states.

Tick tock, tick tock.

In her Friday briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the General Services Administration will certify the results at the “right moment,” which suggests internal talks are taking place about a formal transition process.

That’s good because Trump will pay a steep price if he appears to be stonewalling without hope of prevailing. Most immediately, he could undermine GOP chances in the two Georgia election run-offs, where control of the Senate is up for grabs. If Dems win both, they get all of Congress and the White House.

That would flip the current narrative of the election, which is that Trump had long coattails and, in defiance of predictions, led the GOP to major gains in the House and a narrow hold in the Senate. That could be undone in Georgia and pave the way for Biden’s left-wing policies and appointments, including to the federal courts.

Outside Washington, Dems are doing all they can to toxify Trump’s legacy, and he shouldn’t help them. The pernicious Barack Obama has a new book, and he and wife Michelle are making a Netflix film that slams the president.

The left’s cancel culture will try to erase Trump’s achievements on job creation, border security and foreign policy. Don’t be surprised if Biden gets credit for the historic sprint to develop the COVID vaccine. Anything that goes wrong will be Trump’s fault.

In other words, nothing has changed. Trump was spied on, sabotaged and impeached for purely partisan purposes, and the corrupt press corps rooted for failure. But it was the media that truly failed the American people by betraying their public trust — and Trump still got 10 million more votes than he got in 2016.

Whatever he does, the president must protect the Republican Party he recreated, one that is increasingly defined by women, Latinos and young black voters. It is the bulwark against chaos and disunion.

Almost by definition, one-term presidents are failures. Donald Trump defies the assumption. He secured the peace and kept the American dream alive for millions upon millions of people.

But timing is everything in politics as in gambling, and Kenny Rogers had it right when he sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away.”

The Emmy goes to . . . Cuomo!?

According to the data, 34,186 people have died from the coronavirus in New York state, by far the most of any state. California, which has twice as many people, lost 18,645 people to the virus. Texas and Florida, both of which also have more people than New York, have lost far fewer than we have. Texas reports 20,956 deaths and Florida 17,892.

On the basis of deaths per 1 million people, New York stands at a whopping 1,757, while California is at 472. Florida’s rate is 833 and Texas is at 723 per million.

So guess which governor gets a fat book contract and an Emmy Award?

Celebrating Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the virus is nuts unless it’s about his sinister efforts to make disaster appear to be success. Otherwise, it is ghoulish, especially considering his directive forcing nursing homes to accept more than 6,000 patients infected with the virus.

The resulting carnage was predictable, as is Cuomo’s refusal to release accurate death totals in the facilities. The state stopped counting at 6,600 deaths, which is probably about half the actual number.

Unfortunately for New Yorkers, the governor’s policies were killers, literally and figuratively. In addition to the staggering death toll, his lockdowns are crushing the economy and his failure to keep schools open dooms the poorest children to a lifetime learning deficit. The out-of-control crime on subways is also happening on his watch.

What, pray tell, is there to celebrate?

Bullish on Biden – or just full of bull?

If you’re looking for a signal to sell stocks, you just got it. New York Times wingnut Paul Krugman predicts an economic “boom” under a Biden presidency.

Recall that Krugman predicted the stock market would “never recover” from a Trump presidency. The Dow Jones stood at about 18,300 on election night of 2016.

It closed Friday at 29,263 — 11,000 points higher.

Whatever Krugman says, do the opposite.

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Celebrities

Claudia Conway just auditioned for this reality show

Claudia Conway, daughter of former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and conservative Trump critic George Conway, rose to fame on TikTok this year for her criticism of the Trump administration and her conservative parents. Now, the 16-year-old influencer is looking to turn her social media fame into reality TV stardom.

Conway recently revealed that she auditioned for the singing competition American Idol. Conway shared the news in a TikTok video, saying, “Hey guys, I’m here at American Idol confessional. I met Ryan Seacrest today, and I have my audition soon.” The teenager looked confident and ready to perform, although she admitted to being “very, very nervous.” In spite of her nerves, though, she added that she was also “very excited” to be auditioning for the show.

Conway’s video was met with a flood of supportive comments from fans and friends wishing her luck on her audition.

Can Claudia Conway sing?

While Conway is best known for her progressive politics and for her criticism of her parents, she has showcased her singing skills on TikTok before, such as in this cover of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.”

A YouTube video uploaded by America First Productions claims to show an 11-year-old Conway singing a cover of Adele’s “Remedy.” The video was originally uploaded in 2016 on the YouTube channel Kiki Claud Official. While it doesn’t appear that the channel was ever officially connected to her, the videos on it do appear to be of a young Conway.

Conway’s singing chops are pretty impressive, especially when you remember that she’s only 16 years old. While the TikTok star has yet to provide an update about how her audition went, it seems likely that her talent combined with her already substantial fame will have ensured that she got that golden ticket to make it to the next round of the competition.

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Lifestyle

It is just me? Or is the trend for batch-cooking mind-numbing?

It is just me? Or is the trend for batch-cooking mind-numbing? asks CLAUDIA CONNELL

  • ‘Batch-cooking’ has increased in popularity during both UK lockdowns 
  • Claudia Connell can’t see the appeal of having shelves filled with the same meal
  • She questions if it saves time and argues food is tastier when freshly prepared 

How did you spend your weekend? Binge watching the new series of The Crown? A bracing autumn walk? Or just counting the days until shops, restaurants and pubs reopen?

Then again, perhaps you spent it chained to a kitchen for hours on end, chopping vegetables in order to prepare and cook enough food to feed an army?

So-called ‘batch-cooking’ has been growing as a trend in recent years and snowballed in popularity during both lockdowns.

Claudia Connell admits she can’t see the appeal of ‘batch-cooking’ and argues freshly prepared food is always tastier (file image)

Social media accounts have been full of endless photos showing piles of chopped veg, followed by huge vats of stews and curries bubbling away on a hob. And the moment of ultimate brag: the results of their labour — stacks of containers, all labelled and ready for the freezer.

As much as I enjoy cooking, for the life of me I can’t understand the appeal.

Who wants to open their freezer to see the shelves groaning with dozens of containers of the same meal? Isn’t lockdown depressing enough?

When I decide I’m going to devote a couple of hours to making a lasagne from scratch, it’s because I haven’t eaten one in months — it doesn’t mean I want to eat it eight more times in quick succession.

Another factor is that food is always tastier when freshly prepared, while reheated frozen food often turns into watery slop.

And does it really save time? Surely, it’s still quicker to make an omelette then it is to heat a frozen meal?

Looking forward to something lovely to eat is what often gets me through a long day at work. Beef stew for the fifth time that month would make me never want to leave the office.

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Lifestyle

Why Rascal Flatts just dropped out of the CMA Awards

The coronavirus has struck again. Not long after the start of the 54th annual CMA Awards, Rascal Flatts shared some sad news. The band dropped out of a scheduled performance at the award show because one of them tested positive for COVID-19.

“Hey Y’all, we wanted to let you guys know that we have received a positive COVID test within the band,” Rascal Flatts tweeted on Nov. 11, 2020. “As much as we were looking forward to performing at the CMA Awards tonight, we will no longer be attending in the interest of everyone’s safety. We miss y’all and stay safe!”

The band didn’t share which of its three members — Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, or Joe Don Rooney — had tested positive for the virus. But, as the hosts and other musicians stressed during the award ceremony’s pre-show, there were multiple positive COVID tests for those who participated in the event. And as much as fans will miss seeing the band live, it’s good that the test caught the virus before it could have spread to someone else at the ceremony.

Rascal Flatts isn't the only group to drop out of the CMA Awards because of COVID

Shortly before Rascal Flatts revealed that a band member had tested positive for COVID-19, Lady A tweeted that an “immediate family member” had tested positive for the virus. Though the group members tested negative, they also backed out of the event, where they were scheduled to perform with co-host Darius Rucker.

And before that, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard tested positive for COVID-19, as did Lee Brice. While it’s great to know that these cases were caught before the musicians showed up at the award show, it raises the question of whether hosting an in-person award ceremony in the middle of a pandemic was a good idea in the first place. For all of the talk about how safe the award show is, the fact that so many performers have dropped out because of the virus makes you wonder whether it was worth it. (There’s a reason Twitter users are calling it the “Covid Music Awards.”) While fans hope Rascal Flatts, Lee Brice, Tyler Hubbard, and Lady A’s family member will make a quick recovery, the news is a stark reminder that the pandemic is still very real.

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World News

Trump has just 'TEN DAYS to prove fraud' before Biden is confirmed as president when key states confirm results

DONALD Trump has just 10 DAYS remaining to prove "rampant voter fraud" during the election before Joe Biden is confirmed as president.

Three states that clinched victory for President-elect Joe Biden — Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania — will certify their election results after Biden beat Trump by 306 Electoral Votes to 232.

⚠️ Follow our US election 2020 live blog for the latest news & updates


It means the clock is ticking down for the Republican Party, with GOP leaders asking for extra time to come up with evidence supporting their claims -which have so far been unsubstantiated -before the election results are officially certified.

Republicans have moved to halt the certification of results in all three states, and hope that recounts or audits of votes in some states could delay those final certifications.

Mr Biden was projected to win the presidential race last Saturday after the state of Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes were called for the former VP.

But Matt Morgan, general counsel for the Trump campaign, said: “Our legal strategy is to proceed to bring resolution to any of our issues prior to final certification."

He noted that secretaries of state might have to re-certify results if recounts change the ultimate vote tally.

“So all of our legal matters are on timelines that we hope will achieve our intended result prior to final certification,” he continued.

The news comes after lawyers for the Trump campaign dropped their lawsuit in Arizona on Friday, that was looking for a recount of all the ballots cast on Election Day.

A Michigan judge also rejected an attempt to block the certification of a Biden win in Detroit, according to CNN anchor Jim Sciutto.

And Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar asked a federal judge on Thursday to dismiss the Trump campaign's lawsuit, which she slammed as "desperate and unfounded".

Boockvar reportedly won't order a recount of Election Day votes because "no statewide candidate was defeated by one-half of one percent or less of the votes cast."

The only remaining state that has confirmed it will recount votes is Georgia, where Biden leads President Donald Trump by over 14,000 votes.

That recount could be completed before the state’s November 20 deadline to certify election results.

Richard Hasen, chancellor’s professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, said certificiation of results would happen regardless- unless the Trump campaign could find a way to majory disrupt the consitutional process.

Hasen told Impact2020: “The forces of inertia are on Biden’s side, because the processes of moving toward certification and choosing electors is pretty much on autopilot unless there’s some way of disrupting it.

“The cases as a whole seem quite weak, either weak factually or weak legally or both.”

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has also called for a recount in Wisconsin – but they can have one as long as they pay for it.

Wisconsin's deadline for certification comes later than others, on December 1- but President-elect Biden’s margin of victory stands at nearly 20,000 votes.

Pennsylvania and Michigan certify their vote tallies on November 23.

Biden leads Trump in Pennsylvania by over 50,000 votes, and in Michigan by nearly 150,000 votes.

The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits asking courts to halt certifications in both states, but legal experts doubt their challenges have much chance of success.

“In Pennsylvania and Michigan, the campaign does not seem to have put forward a basis for delaying certification,” said Hasen.

“The complaint is a combination of things that have already been rejected, and kind of novel legal theories that are unlikely to be accepted by the court.”

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Lifestyle

Nordstrom Just Launched 10,000 Early Black Friday Deals — for One Day Only

This year, Black Friday will look a little bit different. There definitely won’t be long lines and crowded stores with thousands of people fighting over the last Ugg boot or Tory Burch bag. And while that might flood you with relief, it also means those same overly enthusiastic shoppers will all be sitting at their computer screens, refreshing every minute.

While checking your internet connection is one way to prepare, another would be to beat the Black Friday rush altogether and shop the early sales that retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and now Nordstrom have already dropped. 

This morning, Nordstrom quietly posted 10,000 early Black Friday deals in a major markdown sale — discounts are now up to 65 percent off. There are boots! There are bags! There are coats! And most importantly of all, there are only a couple hours left to shop, since these additional markdowns reportedly end at midnight ET.

Nordstrom has extended sales like this in the past, but discounts this huge just two weeks before actual Black Friday is pretty much unheard of — and absolutely worth shopping ASAP. 

Best Clothing Deals at Nordstrom’s Early Black Friday Sale:

  • Everlane The Teddy V-Neck Wool Blend Sweater, $44 (Originally $88)
  • Ralph Lauren Herringbone Blazer Wool Blend Coat, $150 (Originally $240)
  • Girlfriend Collective High Waist 7 / 8 Leggings, $41 (Originally $68)
  • Cinq a Sept Cheyenne Crystal Flower Embellished Blazer, $417 (Originally $695)
  • Theory Pink Karenia Cashmere Sweater, $195 (Originally $325)

As has been the case with most major Nordstrom sales this year, the Tory Burch markdowns are especially worth noting, as Tory Burch often sells out quickly. Among the early Black Friday discounts are the famous Perry bag for just $209 and the logo leather Hobo Bag for $249, plus Tory Burch’s very cute travel ballet flat that’s now just $137.

Additionally, there are major discounts on Kate Spade bags and coats, and they’re now hundreds of dollars off. There’s also plenty of denim from celeb-loved brands like Rag & Bone and NYDJ for under $150. And several other beloved styles, like the Adidas Stan Smith sneaker that rarely goes on sale, are marked down too. 

Even if Black Friday does look different this year, Nordstrom’s early Black Friday sale is an indication that it’ll be better than ever. Think of it this way: Black Friday just morphed from a sprint to a marathon, and we’re relishing every step.

Shop the best early Black Friday deals at Nordstrom below.

Best Handbag Deals

  • MCM Yris Leather Tote Bag, $476 (Originally $680)
  • Tory Burch Perry Bag, $209 (Originally $348)
  • Kate Spade Small Roulette Leather Crossbody Bag, $119 (Originally $198)
  • Tory Burch Mini Miller Leather Hobo Bag, $249 (Originally $498)
  • Allsaints Small Kita Convertible Leather Backpack, $227 (Originally $378)

Best Shoe Deals

  • Sam Edelman Hai Knee High Boot, $119 (Originally $200)
  • Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flat, $137 (Originally $248)
  • Lucky Brand Lug Leather Bootie, $60 (Originally $150)
  • Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker, $64 (Originally $80)
  • Aquatalia Weatherproof Bootie, $200 (Originally $450)

Best Outerwear Deals 

  • Ralph Lauren Faux Fur Trim Down Hooded Parka, $227 (Originally $340)
  • J.Crew Perfect Leopard Rain Jacket, $90 (Originally $138)
  • Avec Les Filles Moto Detail Wool Blend Twill Coat, $200 (Originally $335)
  • Kate Spade Faux Fur Wool Blend Coat, $299 (Originally $398)
  • Kenneth Cole New York Melton Wool Maxi Coat, $140 (Originally $178)

Best Denim Deals 

  • Paige Laurel Canyon Raw Hem Flare Jeans, $145 (Originally $239)
  • NYDJ Sheri Stretch Ankle Jeans, $65 (Originally $109)
  • Rag & Bone Black Skinny Jeans, $117 (Originally $195)
  • AG Prima Mid Rise Ankle Cigarette Jeans, $75 (Originally $188)
  • Joe’s Icon Ankle Jeans, $99 (Originally $168)

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TV and Movies

Chloe x Halle to Perform at the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards — Find Out Who Is Presenting

Musical duo Chloe x Halle will perform at this year's E! People's Choice Awards, the network announced Tuesday.

The sisters and grown-ish stars are also nominated in the best group category.

Chloe x Halle dropped their second LP, Ungodly Hour, in June, and were named the new faces of Fendi's Peekaboo bag the following month. In September, they kicked off the 2020 NFL season with a powerful rendition of the national anthem.

Previously announced performer Justin Bieber will also be taking the stage at the People's Choice Awards, airing live on Sunday from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.

E! also announced on Tuesday that the following celebrities will take the stage as presenters at this year's show: Addison Rae, Alison Brie, Armie Hammer, Bebe Rexha, Christina Hendricks, Jameela Jamil, Kathryn Hahn, Machine Gun Kelly, Sofia Carson, Tiffany Haddish and Tyler, the Creator.

Demi Lovato will host the annual awards show, she revealed last month. For the announcement, E! News tweeted at her, "We can keep a secret could you, @ddlovato? Any plans on Sunday, November 15th?"

"idk… maybe hosting @peopleschoice?!?!? #PCAs," 28-year-old singer replied.

This year's E! PCA's will honor Jennifer Lopez with the People's Icon Award, Tyler Perry with the People's Champion of 2020 Award and Tracee Ellis Ross with the Fashion Icon Award.

The 2020 E! People's Choice Awards will broadcast live on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo, E!, SYFY and USA.

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Lifestyle

Brodie Van Wagenen out just hours after Steve Cohen purchases Mets

The Mets’ makeover has begun.

Hours after Steve Cohen officially became the owner of the New York Mets, the team announced GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the rest of his front office staff left the organization.

In addition to Van Wagenen, Special assistant to the GM Omar Minaya, assistant GMs Allard Baird and Adam Guttridge, and player development direction Jared Banner all left the Mets.

“I want to thank Brodie, Allard, Adam and Jared for their contributions over the last two years,” President of Baseball operations Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “I especially want to thank Omar for his long and distinguished service to the Mets in many important capacities.”

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TV and Movies

Reality Steve Just Revealed That [SPOILER] Wins Tayshia Adams' Season of ‘The Bachelorette’

We could all use a MAJOR distraction rn, so what better way to decompress than to think about who Tayshia Adams is going to choose as her final suitor on The Bachelorette, amirite? If you’re interested to know (but also can’t be bothered to actually watch and find out, LOL), today is your lucky day because Reality Steve just dropped some v juicy spoilers about how Tayshia’s season wraps up…and he spilled who got the final rose!

First thing’s first: Steve shared that one of Tayshia’s frontrunners, Brendan Morais, decided to leave before the show ended (sorry if you were rooting for him)! He explained:

Reality Steve then shared who got the final rose: Zac Clark! The real interesting part is that Tayshia and Zac *don’t* get engaged after the final rose ceremony, and Steve didn’t offer up any info about why. It’s not totally shocking considering the last few Bachelors and Bachelorettes have had some pretty unconventional endings on the show, but still!

Can’t wait to see how this plays out on television.

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