Lawrence O’Donnell Says He’s Staying At MSNBC

Lawrence O?Donnell told audiences Wednesday that he will be staying at MSNBC for ?the next couple of years,? ending weeks of speculation about the longtime host?s future at the network.

Last month, sources told Yashar Ali in an article for HuffPost that network executives had not been in touch with the ?Last Word? host as his contract neared its expiration. The lack of negotiation with a highly rated anchor like O?Donnell was considered unusual, as competing networks could lure talent away with counter-offers.

O?Donnell put those rumors to rest, addressing his future at the network both on the air and on Twitter. 

?I will be sitting right here talking about the James Comey hearing and everything else that happens next week and everything that happens for the next couple of years,? O?Donnell said. 

O?Donnell, who has a 10 p.m. prime-time slot, brings in the second-highest ratings for MSNBC, after Rachel Maddow. He?s been on the network since its inception and has hosted ?The Last Word? since 2010.

A vocal opponent of President Donald Trump for years, O?Donnell often used his airtime to address public Twitter feuds he had with the former ?Celebrity Apprentice? host. Trump has called for NBC to fire O?Donnell and threatened to sue him for questioning his wealth. But the MSNBC host has continued to rail against the president night after night, recently calling him ?the laziest, most ignorant president in history.?

MSNBC did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Wednesday. 

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Blackface, Lynching Reference Used In Promposals By Students From The Same School

When using a bitmoji to ask a girl to prom didn?t work for one California high schooler, he attempted to transform into the bitmoji by sporting blackface, NBC Bay Area News reported Monday.

A Los Gatos High School student asked a peer via Snapchat if she?d be interested in going to prom with him using the picture below, which was  obtained by the local news outlet. Neither student has revealed their name.

While most people use bitmojis that reflect their own appearance, the white male student chose to use a black cartoon avatar in his promposal. 

After using the bitmoji didn?t get him the response he wanted, he showed up to the young woman?s house in blackface with a recreation of the above sign, in a poorly played attempt to channel the avatar. 

The student apologized to NBC Bay Area News after his school?s newspaper shed light on the racist promposal which he posted to Instagram. 

?To dress up like my bitmoji, I had no racist intentions,? he told the station. ?I didn?t mock the African American community at any point.?

?I just want to say I?m sorry if I offended anyone. That wasn?t my intention,? he continued. ?I?m not a racist kid, and I just want to say this is a big misunderstanding.?

Another student at Los Gatos created a racist prom invitation of their own in April. According to KTVU News, a junior at the school made a poster that he later put on social media, asking a girl if she wanted to ?be like a n****r and hang at prom?? 

The two incidents, which were both reported by the school?s paper, forced school officials to address the racial issues at Los Gatos in a letter to parents. 

?No communication about any school event should denigrate another person or group for any reason,? read the letter obtained by NBC. ?We are aware of two prom asks this spring that have been of a racist nature and want this choice of behavior never to recur.?

It also stated that the prom invitations were ?racially offensive and contrary to the values of inclusion and belonging that are integral to the school culture at Los Gatos High School.?

According to the letter, students and faculty will have to undergo equity training in the fall.

The school and the mother of the student who wore blackface did not return a request for comment from HuffPost.

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Why Retirees Are Moving To This Town In Thailand

On a typical morning in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Marie Frederickson wakes up to the sound of temple bells marking the call for Buddhist monks to begin their daily meditation and prayer. This ritual is one of those cultural traditions that Frederickson, a Boston native who?s lived as a semi-retired expat in Thailand for the last 15 years, doesn?t take for granted.

?I fell in love with the place. The people, the food, the crafts, the landscape. Just about everything,? she said. The view of rice fields, chickens, cows and the occasional water buffalo meandering by the kitchen window of her traditional Lanna (northern Thai) style home don?t hurt either, she said.

At 73, Frederickson, a self-described ?very, very active retired lady,? decided to move to Thailand after a visit with her youngest brother and his wife left her ?hooked.? Today, Frederickson stays busy the way most retired people do: Reading, gardening, painting and cooking. She also volunteers with the local theater group and works as a promoter and online marketer for her housemate?s company Best Tuk Tuk Tours.

Chiang Mai, nicknamed the ?Rose of the North,? is widely considered the country?s cultural and spiritual heart. With no shortage of things to do, between its abundance of beautiful temples, charming riverside cafés and contingent of retired expats along with newly developed shopping malls replete with multiplexes and artisanal coffee shops, Chiang Mai has seen a steady rise in it retired expat community over the years.

?If you?re going there just to retire, Chiang Mai is a really great place to do that,? Steven LePoidevin, a Canadian expat and former Chiang Mai resident, said. ?People go to Thailand, whether it?s Bangkok or the islands for a number of reasons, but Chiang Mai in particular because there are so many other expats. And the cost of living is probably one of the cheapest in the world.?

Chiang Mai was ranked by International Living as one of the top places to retire abroad in 2017, thanks to the low cost of healthcare and climate as well as overall quality of life. 

?You can live in Chiang Mai and still be living in the States basically,? Mr. LePoidevin, who lived there for three years until recently with his wife, Nancy, said. ?Most people I?ve talked to say they want to move to a place where there?s a built-in community and a big number of expats already. Chiang Mai is the perfect place for that.?

While the exact number of expats is unknown, the Chiang Mai Expats Living Guide estimates that around 40,000 documented expats live Chiang Mai, a figure LePoidevin said is definitely underreported. ?You?re looking at 40,000 expats and some people say there could be as many as 60,000 or even more because there are a lot of people there that are living off the grid. Of that 40,000 the biggest group there is still Americans and a lot of that is retirees,? he said. 

LePoidevin said while there?s an eclectic mix of nationalities, Australians, North Americans and the U.K., are among the highest represented areas.

The Chiang Mai Expats Club (CEC) which hosts monthly meetups such as coffee mornings, brunch outings and outside group activities, is the ?glue that holds many of the retired expats together,? LePoidevin says. The fact that Thailand celebrates all of the American holidays including Christmas and New Years also make the transition much easier. 

?The longer you live in these other countries, the more you realize how screwed over North Americans are,? Mr. LePoidevin said. ?I mean you can rent a really nice condo in downtown Chiang Mai for $500 or $600 dollars a month in a city of one million with five modern malls and a modern cinema across the street and great restaurants. You can?t get that anywhere in the States anywhere in the downtown area.?

For Marie Frederickson, her home in Chiang Mai is one she said she ?never wants to leave.?

?After almost 15 years I still haven?t seen it all,? Frederickson said. ?I love the local people. Their smiles, legends, superstitions and sense of family and generosity. The list can go on and on.?


Michelle Gross is a Jersey City based travel, food and culture reporter. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Travel Leisure, Food&Wine and Men?s Journal. Please follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mtothegnyc

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