Trump is sending armed tactical forces to arrest immigrants in sanctuary cities

The Trump administration is reportedly sending armed and highly trained law enforcement units to sanctuary cities across the country to support US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in carrying out immigration raids.

As first reported by the New York Times, 100 US Customs and Border Protection officers, including those from the SWAT-like Border Patrol Tactical Unit, will be deployed from February through May across nine sanctuary cities: Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, and Newark, NJ.

Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents receive special training for high-risk law enforcement activities, including sniper certification and other …

The US and Taliban take a first step toward a peace deal in Afghanistan

The United States and the Taliban have reached a deal that could be the start of ending America’s longest-running war.

This is not a peace agreement, but rather something of a pre-agreement. The US and the Taliban have agreed to a seven-day “reduction in violence” pact, a US official confirmed Friday to media outlets.

It’s not clear when this deal will take effect, per NPR, or how it will be measured, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But the violence reduction deal is intended as a test of whether a more lasting ceasefire might be possible, according …

Sonic the Hedgehog’s live-action movie seemed doomed to fail. It escaped unscathed.

Film adaptations of video games never arrive quietly. Gaming is a billion-dollar industry; fans are notably, even infamously, hardcore. And when it comes to transitioning particularly cartoonish gaming heroes from their fantastically illogical worlds to a conventional, human-filled, real-life Earth, filmmakers face an even more daunting task of suspending our disbelief.

And for protective fans of classic video gaming mascots like Pikachu, Mario, or Sonic the Hedgehog, it would be especially impossible to forgive any crew who turned a beloved character into an unrecognizable figure. It’s hard to trust Hollywood, the land of the Minions, to not reduce beloved, familiar …

Facebook canceled a 5,000-person conference in San Francisco because of coronavirus

Facebook is canceling an annual marketing conference it was planning to host in San Francisco next month over concerns about the new coronavirus — now officially known as Covid-19.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we canceled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison said in a statement to Recode.

The social media giant confirmed that it has scratched its plan to hold the event for 5,000 international attendees at the Moscone Center on March 9-12, as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s the latest sign …

Listen: Billie Eilish’s big 2020 continues with James Bond theme “No Time to Die”

The first two months of Billie Eilish’s 2020 have been busier than most people’s entire year: In January, the 18-year-old pop star became the youngest person ever to win Album of the Year at the Grammys. Two weeks later, on February 9, she performed the seminal Beatles song “Yesterday” at the Oscars during the In Memoriam segment. (She also became the awards’ best meme, thanks to her delightfully memorable reactions to the ceremony’s most-discussed moments.) And on Thursday, she released her original theme song for the upcoming latest film in the James Bond franchise, No Time to Die

How Justice Scalia paved the way for Trump’s assault on the rule of law

The past couple of weeks began a new phase for the Trump administration and, potentially, for the institution of the presidency.

Emboldened by his acquittal in a majority-Republican Senate, President Trump spent the past week firing officials who testified against him in impeachment proceedings — part of a rash of retaliation that my colleague Zack Beauchamp labeled “Trump’s purge.”

Then Trump sent a tweet denouncing the Justice Department’s suggestion that Roger Stone, a Trump ally convicted of making false statements, obstruction, and witness tampering, should receive a stiff sentence of seven to nine years. The Justice Department swiftly …

“This fundraiser is a slap in the face to all of us”: Oracle employees are furious over Larry Ellison’s support of Trump

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s decision to host a fundraiser for Donald Trump next week has awakened the usually passive workforce at his company, angering some employees who are privately sharing their disgust with each other over Ellison’s actions.

Their reaction reflects how toxic Trump remains in Silicon Valley — and the ire that top tech executives can draw when they align themselves with the president. And it’s revealing that it’s happening at Oracle, which employees say has a conservative culture that has not been touched by the current bouts of workforce activism sweeping major tech companies.

“It signals what I …

Edie Falco will always tell you exactly what she thinks, like it or not

When you interview Edie Falco, you’re in for a ride. Even if she disagrees with the premise of your question — as she did when I tried to ask her about her acting process — she’ll tell you exactly what she thinks and spin you in a brand new direction entirely. Where some actors remain tightly focused and pinned to their talking points, Falco is always game for whatever you throw at her.

Though she had been working steadily for over a decade when she was cast on the groundbreaking drama The Sopranos, her complex and riveting work …