Bryan Bickell announced his retirement yesterday due to his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and the Hurricanes started the longtime NHL forward for the final two games of his career—and gave him first crack when Carolina and Philadelphia remained deadlocked after overtime, even though Bickell had never scored a shootout…
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The Trump administration may have backed off its hunt for the identities behind a Twitter account critical of the president and his immigration policies, but that’s not enough for some senators — including Republicans.
At least three senators aren’t letting the issue drop and are challenging the Trump crew over its action last month issuing a summons in a bid to unmask Twitter customers.
“Not only was the summons blatantly inconsistent with the cited investigatory authority … it appeared to be a distributing threat to free speech and whistleblower protections,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote in a letter Friday to the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“Even more concerning” is the possibility that CBP issued the summons to find out if the account holders were employed by the Department of Homeland Security to “take retaliatory action or otherwise squelch the exercise of [a] First Amendment right,” he added, and called for an investigation.
The summons by the Department of Homeland Security demanded that Twitter turn over the identity or identities behind the @alt_immigration account, one of a number of “alternative” Twitter sites purporting to represent an underground voice within government agencies or other supporters. Twitter in turn sued Homeland Security and CPD last week, and the government withdrew its demand.
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) also sent a joint letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly expressing concerns about an infringement on free speech, and demanded more details behind the action.
“CBP must ensure that any properly authorized investigation does not disregard the rights to free speech enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” they wrote in the letter Friday.
The Alt Immigration site (@alt_uscis) was rattled by the Trump action and took a short break from tweeting after last week’s battle. “The past few days have been extremely difficult and full of anxiety,” @alt_uscis tweeted on Friday. It also thanked Twitter and the American Civil Liberties Union for “standing up for us.”
Ironically, the government’s action against ALT Immigration served to anoint the site with the imprimatur of legitimacy as a true critic of the Trump administration. Twitter chatter has raised concerns that some of the alt sites may be fake, and actually run by the Trump administration perhaps to keep tabs on those who respond. The action also served to bring thousands of new followers to the site.
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Harden’s Rockets have the third-best record in the NBA.
“I thought winning was what this is about,” Harden said on Sunday, according to The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. “I’m not going to get into depths, but I thought winning is the most important thing.”
Harden has led his Rockets team (54-26) to the NBA’s third-best record, pouring on 29.2 points (second-best), 11.2 assists (league-best) and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Westbrook has shattered NBA records, recorded seven consecutive triple doubles twice this season, and scored the most points (57) with a triple double in NBA history. The Thunder (46-34) are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference despite boasting Westbrook as far and away its most recognizable name.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has publicly backed his points guard’s campaign for MVP on Twitter. He even promoted Harden’s MVP case as a webpage on NBA .com.
More context: ’62 MVP #1 Bill Russell (60 Wins-20 Losses),#2 Wilt Chamberlain (49 W-31 L), #3 Oscar Robertson (43 W-37 L, avg triple double) https://t.co/2wRKI4JfFT
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) April 9, 2017
If there’s an MVP race deemed too close to call, it’s this one. Sure, Harden has more wins, but his supporting cast is exponentially better than the team Westbrook has dragged into the post-season.
The Rockets added Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson during the summer, then went ahead and dealt for Lou Williams at the trade deadline. Oklahoma City’s next best players after Westbrook are Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. The Thunder also added Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott during the All-Star break.
MVP voters have to turn their ballots in at the end of the week, so post-season play won’t have an influence over the decision. But Westbrook and Harden are slated to go head-to-head in the first round of the playoffs.
The Rockets beat the Thunder, 3-1, in the season series this year. But if there’s anything Westbrook has proven this season, it’s that you can’t count ever him out.
And even if Houston has the edge in the wins category, voters can’t discount Westbrook’s historic level of play when making their choice for the MVP award.